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ROBERT A. 

heinlein: 

ir-lECTIONS ON 



SPACE TRAVEL AND 



T^:^:io 



astronauts: 

the slowest 
:oheapest and 
%/dst beautiful 
^waytofly 





CARL 
SAG AN: 

: DWARFS, UTTL 

"GREEN MEN AND 

TALESpF THE* ANCIENT 

" ASTRONAUTS 

PLUS? 

SILICON VALLEY* 
JAWS 2000 -UFO: 

over Iran -the 

little space probe 

thatcould 



'. A|isiria58S 
„j3b[giun-i 109 BP ■ 
'0.00 DKr 





onnrui 



AUGUST 1979 



EDITOR & DESIGN DIRECTOR: BOB GUCCIONE 

EXECUTIVE EDITOR: FRANK KENDIG ■ 

ART DIRECTOR: FRANK DEVINO 

EUROPEAN EDITOR: DR. BERNARD DIXON 

FICTION EDITOR' BEN BOVA 

DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING: BEVERLEY WARDALE 

EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT: IRWIN E. BILLMAN 

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER: KATHY KEETON 
ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER (INT'L): FRANCO ROSSELLINI 





K 1 m 


CONTENTS 








PAGE 






FIRST WORD 




Opinion 


Jerry Grey 


6 






OMNIBUS 




Contributors 




8 




COMMUNICATIONS 




Correspondence 




10 
12 






FORUM 




Dialogue 






EARTH 




Environment 


Kenneth Brower 


14 
16 






SPACE 




Astronomy 


Mark R. Chartrand II 






LIFE 




Biomedicine 


Bernard Dixon 


20 







OFFICIAL CIRCLES 




Politics 


William K. Stuokey 


22 






THE ARTS 




Media 




24 






UFO UPDATE 




Report 


James Oberg 


30 
35 






CONTINUUM 




Data Bank 








WHITE DWARFS AND 
GREEN MEN 




Article 


Carl Sagan 


44 






SANDKINGS 




Fiction 


George R, R. Martin 


50 
54 




WIZARDS OF SILICON VALLEY 


Article 


Gene Bylinsky and 
Zhenya Lane 




THE NOTEBOOKS OF 
LAZARUS LONG 




Pictorial 


Robert A. Heinlein 


60 




JOHN D. ISAACS 




Interview 


Joseph E. Brown 
Orson Scott Card 


70 
76 






QUIETUS 




Fiction 






SHARKI 




Article 


Kenneth Jon Rose 


80 






THE FOX AND THE HEDGEHOG 
ALOFT 


Fiction 


John Anthony West 


86 






Pictorial 


Nick Engler 


90 




VAGABOND 




Humor 


David Searls 


98 






STARS 




Comment 


Patrick Moore 


129 






EXPLORATIONS 
WARNING COLORS 




Travel 


Michael Cassutt 


130 






Phenomena 


Peter Parks 


140 






GAMES 




Diversions 


Scot Morris 


144 






LAST WORD . 




Opinion 


Joyce McWilliams 


146 






PHOTO CREDITS 








128 






Cover art for this month's Omni 
s a painting by the English 
artist Peter Goodteitow, 
entitled The Illustrated Man. 
Goodfettow, who was born in 
1950, studied at the Central 
School of Art in London His art 
reflects elements of the 
surrealist and symbolist schools. 

4 OMNI 


OMNI 1979 (ISSN 0149-8711). U S Voiume 1 Number 11 Copyright © 1979 by Omni International Ltd. All lights reserved. Published 
™„,nl in IheUnited States and simultaneous,, in Canada by OMNI Publications International Ltd =»™*™ "» J*« 

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en, Son and real places or persons living or dead is coincidental. Subscriptions^ U.S., *FO-JW« »W „ C ; ra * ™° 

LV i- r , etc..toOMNIMagazine,PO.Box908, 

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portions published thereot .emain the sole property ol Omni International. Letters to OMNI or Us editors become i the property , ot the 

magazL and are assumed intended tor publication and lepubiication in whole or in part, and ma, therefore be used tor such purposes 






« Again we've 
compromised 
one of mankind's 
most impressive and 
most useful 
advancements in 
order to save a 
few bucks up front 3 



Whatever happened to the Grand Tou' of 
the solar system? Why was Skylab, the 
on.'/ U.S. space station, lost in a fiery 
descent to Earth? Why are the Canadians, 
the French, the Germans, the Japanese, 
and the Russians developing more 
advanced communications satellites than 
the Americans, who pioneered 
space-communication technology? Why is 
the space shuttle having so many 
problems 7 

Because the U.S. space program: 
operates on a shoestring, that's why 

Back in the days of the race to :he moon 
there were virtually no limits on space 
spending. National prestige was at stake. 
But times are different now. The Vietnam 
War, double-digit inflation, and burgeoning 
social concerns have generated a major 
change in public attitudes. Proposition 13 
haunts the halls of Congress and the White 
House. The "suit? Whatever does got 
done gets done literally on a shoestring. 

Item: The Grand Tour, a remarkable 
opportunity to swing scientific spacecraft 
past all the outer planets of the solar 

system- an opportunity that presents 

itself only once in centuries— was deemed 
"too expensive.™ The recent Voyage' flyby 
of Jupiter, spectacularly successful 
though it was, could have been the 
forerunner of equally successful visits to 
the outer planets, but the Grand Tpur 
mission was delayed out of existence, its 
"window" foreclosed by the inexorable 
movement of the planets around the sun. 

Item: Skylab plummeted to Earth. There 
was much furor about the prospective 
danger of that reentry, but few persons 
recognized the real tragedy of Skylab's 
plunge: It signified the loss of the oniy U.S. 
space station. What was the reason for 
failure? In 1969 NASA's recommendation 
for a permanent manned orbiting station 
surfaced during the post-Apollo mood of 
national parsimony. We launched Skylab 
instead— a lash-up literally thrown 
together out of hardware left over from the 
canceled final Apollo missions (albeit with 
almost wondrous skill and success). The 
crux of this penny pinching, however, was 
that it could have been placed in a higher 
orbit, which would have kept it in space for 
decades, at a cost (in 1972-73) of only a 
few hundred thousand dollars. 

Item: The United States decided in 1973 
that communications-satellite technology 
was sufficiently well developed to be 
turned over to industry. Now there's 
nothing basically wrong with that 
philosophy. But U.S. industry did not 
pickup the long-term, high-economic- 
risk research and development, which Is 
classically the government's role. Foreign 



governments, however, jumped in with lots 
of francs, marks, yen, and rubles. The 
Carter administration finally recognized 
the signs- six years late. America is now 
playing catch-up ball in the only profitable, 
tax-revenue-producing business in space. 

Item The much-heralded space shuttle. 
whose first orbital test was originally 
scheduled tot March 1379. will be iucky to 
get off the ground by March 1980. The 
same old shoestring philosophy did NASA 
in again. In 1971 the Office of Manage- 
ment and Budget said, in effect, "You get 
five billion dollars. That's it. Not a penny 
more. Go do the best you can." 

The result is an ungainly; only partly 
reusable camel (a horse designed by a, 
committee), lacking the reusable orbital 
transfer vehicle ("space tug") so critically 
needed for many of its projected missions. 
We'll have a shuttle -which is great- but 
it will be at least a year late (and mission 
"customers" are already stacked up solid 
for the first two or three years), it won't be 
nearly as efficient, reliable, cost-effective, 
or flexible as it might have been, and it will 
still cost a billion dollars more than the 
original shoestring estimate. 
-Again we've compromised one of 
mankind's most impressive and most 
useful advancements in order to save a 
few bucks up front. 

Perhaps the most graphic denunciation 
of this shortsighted budgetary attitude - 
was offered by Norman Cousins in an 
address to the American Institute of 
Aeronautics and Astronautics' annual 
meeting in Washington last February: 

"The world will end neither with a bang nor 
a whimper, but with the strident cries of 
:it!.e men devoted to cost-benefit ratios. If 
cost-benefit ratios had governed our 
history, Socrates would have become a 
baby-sitter, Newton an apple polisher, 
Galileo and Giordano Bruno court jesters. 
Columbus would have taken out a gondola 
concession in Venice. Thomas Jefferson 
would have become a tax collector, John 
Milton would have written limericks . . . and 
Albert Einstein would have changed his 
name and stayed in Germany" 

Space technology is too valuable — no, 
too necessary to our national and globa 
well-being to be developed on a 
shoestring. The lessons are there to be _ 
iearned. Let's do it right from now onl DO 



Jerry Grey, the administrator of public 
policy for the American institute of 
Aeronautics and Astronautics, is the 
author of Enterprise, a new book that 
focuses on the space shuttle. \ 



DRJlfUIISU! 




i hey're calling it the new mecca of 
high technology, and nothing like 
it exists anywhere else in the 
world. Birthplace of electronic games and 
home computers, of some of the world's 
most advanced supercomputers, of 
impressive laser technology, and of 
machines that can understand human 
speech and can talk back, Santa Clara 
Valley has become home to the twentieth 
century's most daring and innovative 
explorers. Known familiarly as Silicon 
Valley, this stretch of land between the 
Santa Cruz Mountains and San Francisco 
Bay provides the setting for a techno- 
logical revolution of startling proportions. 

"It's where two bright Stanford students, 
William Hewlett and David Packard, 
started their company in a one-car 
garage," says Fortune magazine writer 
Gene Bylinsky. "Hewlett-Packard now 
employs 42,000 people worldwide, with 
annual sales approaching $2 billion-" 

In "The Wizards of Silicon Valley" (page 
54), Bylinsky and coauthor Zhenya Lane 
profile those scholars and soldiers of 
fortune who have made Silicon Valley the 
technological haven it is today. One 
English-born computer manufacturer 
says, "The effect on Earth of Silicon Valley 
will be as dramatic over the next two 
centuries as the effect of Dr. Louis 
Leakey's discoveries on the evolution 
of man." 

"Earth was the only choice left," said Dr. 
OzmoZdilmidgi, mission director at 
Thought Propulsion Laboratory (TPL), 

8 . OMNI 



about the most recent space probe. 
"Everything else was too far away and too 
damned expensive, except maybe the 
moon. And who wants to go there? We've 
been there about six times, and it always 
looks like Winnemucca!" 

Because of meager funding, scientists 
at TPL were forced to scrap their long- 
established plans for exploring the 
lesser-known outer planets and concen- 
trate instead on much more "convenient 
bodies." Despite subtle differences, all the 
findings concur on one point: There 
definitely is life on the third planet! Author 
David Searls provides the humor in 
"Vagabond" (page 98). 

During the past 30 years attempts to 
protect ourselves from shark attacks have 
greatly improved. Researchers are 
becoming more confident that antishark 
defenses will be both inexpensive and 
totally effective in the not-too-distant 
future. Marine specialist Kenneth Jon 
Rose presents a detailed glimpse of some 
of these incredible devices in "Shark!" 
(page 80). The day will soon arrive when 
you will enter the sea without fear of 
attack, allowing the shark to play its proper 
role as merely an animal, with common 
animal instincts, not the mindless monster 
we've made it out to be. 

Undoubtedly the strongest science- 
fiction story to come along in a long time, 
"Sandkings," by George R. R. Martin, will 
be remembered as one of Omni's most 
outstanding works, You won't want to miss 
this gripping tale of mounting horror and 



suspense that's guaranteed to make your 
flesh crawl. Keep the lights on; the terror 
starts on page 50. 

Crafty, stubborn, quick on the trigger, 
and "smart" are all outstanding traits of 
Robert A. Heinlein's memorable character 
Lazarus Long. Since his first appearance 
in Heinlein's 1941 novel Methuselah's 
Children, Lazarus Long has become one 
of science fiction's most popular per- 
sonalities. We've added color to this 
venerable character, to form a stunning 
pictorial — "The Notebooks of Lazarus 
Long" (page 60). 

Besides providing yet another 
appearance by the ever-popular Orson 
Scott Card ("Quietus," page 76), this 
month's fiction offers the versatile John 
Anthony West ("The Fox and the 
Hedgehog," page 86), whose works 
include Serpent In the Sky: The High 
Wisdom of Ancient Egypt (Harper & Row, 
1979), a nonfiction novel, and a few works 
of fiction, Call Out the Militia (E. P. Dutton, 
1967) and Osborne's Army (William 
Morrow, 1967). West is currently working on 
The Sound of Healing (Wildwood), a 
nonfiction work scheduled for 1980 
publication in the United Kingdom. 

Finally, Carl Sagan contributes an 
intriguing expose in "White Dwarfs and 
Green Men." The astronomer-lecturer 
examines the ancient-astronaut theories 
made fashionable by pop archaeologist 
Erich von Daniken and others, with 
particular emphasis on the Dogon tribe of 
Mali. Turn to page 44. OO 




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editor & publisher 

KATHY KEETON 

associate publisher 

OMNI INTERNATIONAL LTD 

THE CORPORATION 

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AUGUST 



CDRnnnuaiicMToajs 



Worth a Thousand Words 
Since the late 1950s and early 1960s the 
phenomenon of unidentifiable objects in 
the sky has progressed from'"flying 
saucers" to U.EO.s to UFOs (distastefully 
pronounced you-foes), out of which has 
developed the study of "ufology" The 
mania of the previous decade has been 
tempered somewhat in the 1970s to the 
point where more rational approaches are 
now taken in the investigation of this 
phenomenon. 

The gallery of such photographs carried 
in your April issue is perhaps the cream of 
the crop of UFO images, and I was 
impressed by the fact thatthey were 
presented in an objective light and not 
heralded to be either genuine or fake. 

A picture is worth a thousand words, 
some say; I would submit that in the case 
of UFOs such is anything but the case. 

Much store is placed in photographs— 
too much. The emphasis placed on a 
photograph during a UFO investigation is 
usually blown all out of proportion. In fact, 
if it cannot be proved that a photo was 
"doctored" or faked in some way, then it is 
classed as genuine, and the whole 
incident gains an almost indisputable 
credibility. This is akin to saying, Because 
the moon covers the sun during a solar 
eclipse, then it must be the same size. It is 
all a matter of perspective. 

A photograph should be a very weak 
link in the chain of evidence compiled 
during a UFO investigation. The more 
empirical, unfakable evidence is the real 
thing to zero in on during an objective 
investigation. 

Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who is mentioned in 
the copy accompanying the excellent 
photo layout, would, I am sure, agree with 
me on this point about photographs. 

Indisputable evidence will not be 
gathered through pretty pictures. Cross 
correlation and checking out of similarities 
and differences between cases will 
provide the best base to work from. 

The bottom line is this: Seeing is 
believing, but a photograph is only as 
good as the paper it is printed on. 

Jon Stone 
Nova Scotia, Canada 



Brilliant Spider 

I have, in the course of a not-too-lengthy 
but overwhelmingly well-rounded lifetime, 
indulged myself in absorbing as much 
printed matter as can possibly be 
digested. On occasion I have been moved 
by word or script to thank various 
contributors to my self-indulgence for 
doing so brilliantly. I do so now, to Spider 
Robinson, for "God Is an Iron" [May 1979], 

And, though not at all as an 
afterthought, to Omni magazine, for 
consistently making my choice of 
self-indulgences so delightful. 

Jana Elliot 
Dallas, Tex. 

Fearsome Faces 

Of all the interviews published in Omni so 
far, I find E. O. Wilson's certainly the most 
mind-prodding one, since it deals so 
directly with all of us [Interview, February 
1979]. The sociobiological explanation of 
racism and xenophobia originating from a 
predisposition to identify with one's own 
group (or to mistrust strangers) makes 
much sense. These feelings, be they weak 
or strong, show up in all societies. A good 
example is found in that same Omni issue. 
I am referring to Kenneth Brower's Earth 
column, in which he expresses his 
uneasiness at the aspect of Guayaquil's 
inhabitants. Our "gringo" eyes may find 
the indigenous faces a little fearsome at 
first, but to say that they are cutthroats is 
going too far. I've had nice times with 
people in southwestern Colombia, who, 
when I first met them, filled me with 
doubts. One can't necessarily judge by 
looks alone. 

John E. Lattke 
Caracas, Venezuela 

Newts in Dark Caves 

Your correspondent R. F. Norman [May 
1979] may have been misled by the 
precise wording of my interview [January 
1979]. Nevertheless, the text did contain 
my comment that Natural Rejection could 
be called Natural Selection, but that the 
former name is "more descriptive." 
When newts that live for many gener- 
ations in dark caves become blind, or 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 128 



ALOGUE 



FDRURfl 



In which the readers, editors, and 
correspondents discuss topics arising out 
of Omni and theories and speculation of 
general interest are brought forth. The 
views published are not necessarily those 
olthe editors. Letters for publication 
should be mailed to Omni Forum, Omni 
Magazine, 909 Third Avenue, New York, 
N.Y. 10022. 

Ominous Plateau 

In his interview with Omni [March 19791 
Arthur C. Clarke inveighs against the 
"astrology people" who prophesy global 
calamity in 1982. 

These prophets of doom are not 
astrologers. They are two Cambridge- 
trained physicists, John Gribbin and 
Stephen Plagemann, whose best-selling 
potboiler, The Jupiter Effect, exemplifies 
the kind of irresponsible and fallacious 
reporting Clarke attributes to the fringe. 

The theory advanced by these sci- 
entists—that the planets falling within a 
60-degree arc on one side of the sun will 
seriously affect the earth — is not sup- 
ported by past experience. It is not 
supported by anything, least of all by 
astrology. 

Clarke's and Frank Kendig's mutual 
contention that Uri Geller has been 
discredited is totally unsubstantiated. 
Geller has been subjected to rigorous 
scrutiny on three continents, and the 
findings are conclusive: His abilities are 
paranormal. Furthermore, professional 
magicians were indeed called upon to 
observe Geller for legerdemain and to 
attempt to duplicate his feats. The 
magicians were hopelessly outmatched. I 
refer to Charles Panati's The Geller Papers 
(Houghton Mifflin, 1976) for an objective 
treatment of this matter. 

Both Clarke and Kendig cite magician 
James Randi as having categorically 
refuted Geller I would like to know where 
this singular fact has been documented. 
To be sure, Randi is a very efficient mouth- 
piece for the debunking fraternity; he 
personally profits from maligning Geller 
and the entire paranormal population, but 
his credibility is seriously in doubt 

John Wheeler's recommendation that 



parapsychologists be kicked out of the 
American Association for the Advance- 
ment of Science now raises the paranor- 
mal debate to an ominous plateau. 

By purging science of the parapsy- 
chologists, Wheeler is removing the only 
creditable means by which paranormal 
claims can be effectively investigated. 

BrendaCalia Thomas 
St. Paul, Minn. 

Computer Warfare 
I was fascinated and distressed by 
Jonathan V. Post's article "Cybernetic War" 
[May 1979]. The technology represented 
exemplifies modern science's most 
fantastic achievements in recent history: 
computers, lasers, nuclear physics, etc. 
But these achievements are 
overshadowed by militaristic implications. 
It is unfortunate that as soon as a 
developing science is recognized as 
having military capabilities, it is clothed in 
secrecy in the name of "national security." 

The advent of ever more complicated 
and spphisticated weapons has escalated 
the arms race to hysterical levels. It has 
created a vicious circle between the scien- 
tists, the military, and the paranoid public. 
Sooner or later we will be forced to take a 
responsible look at the continuing build- 
up of arms in the world, before it is 
too late. 

Stuarl D. MacDonald 
Los Gatos, Calif. 

I enjoyed very much the article "Cyber- 
netic War," and I can attest to the fact that 
the military is steadily becoming more 
dependent upon computers for our nation's 
defense 

As Post stated, computers and lasers 
have their futures inextricably linked, but to 
say that "lasers can be used directly as 
weapons" makes me somewhat skeptical. 

Granted high-energy lasers can 
vaporize flesh and metal. But it would not 
take much to render the aggressor's laser 
totally useless. Any substance that did not 
absorb the electrons of the laser beam at 
the specific wavelength in which they were 
"generated" would be guite safe from such 
an attack. Furthermore, the energy 



required to power such a laser would have 
to be tremendous. As only 6 percent of a 
laser's total input can be effectively 
utilized, that plus the distance the laser 
beam would have to cover to destroy a 
target at a safe range would only lessen the 
effectiveness of that weapon. 

As a taxpayer, I hope that the govern- 
ment, for purposes other than navigation 
tracking and communications, will keep 
laser technology out of the war field and 
spend our tax dollars on more worthwhile 
projects. 

STG 3 Alan Majeski 

U.S. Navy 

San Diego, Calif. 

In an article entitled "Cybernetic War" the 
author, Jonathan V Post, mentions that 
scientists in Geneva have recently 
announced the first containment of 
antimatter. I have always thought that 
antimatter was strictly a fictional device 
used in the television series Star Trek. I do 
not recall ever hearing of such an 
announcement being made. If this is true, 
don't you think the majority of your readers 
would like to hear more about it? I know 
would. I was somewhat surprised that in 
such an article there would be so little 
mentioned about something so bigl Omni 
s the only magazine for which I have stood 
at the newsstand, waiting every month for 
each issue lo be put on the shelf. Please 
keep 'em coming. 

David G. Morrison 
San Francisco, Calif. 

One year ago scientists at CERN in Geneva 
were able to store antimatter for the first 
time by using a technique called ICE, or 
stochastic cooling. The system utilized a 
2-billion-electron-volt storage ring that 
contained the antimatter for a period of 85 
hours. — Ed. 

In his article "Cybernetic War," Jonathan V. 
Post spoke of the use of antimatter as a 
weapon and of how it would be controlled. 
Post spoke of antimatter as one substance 
that could destroy every type of regular 
matter. But what he did not mention, and 
probably did not think of , is that there may 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 135 



EARTH 



By Kenneth Brower 



□ r. Carl Koford led the way past 
tall, gray rows of museum cases, 
then up a flight of stairs and 
past more museum cases. We were in a 
scientific mausoleum— the Museum of 
Vertebrate Zoology of the University of 
California at Berkeley— and the navy-gray 
cases filled the place. The air was cool 
and smelled faintly of naphthalene. At the 
far end of the room, bone-white atop the 
navy gray, too big to fit inside, was the 
skull of a gray whale. Dr. Koford turned 
hard right, into an aisle between two 
navy-gray rows. He did not have to pause 
to read the number. He knew this aisle by 
heart. 

"You can tell the condor case," he said, 
nodding upward. "It's the biggest one." He 
was right. The case labeled "Cathartidae" 
was twice as long as the others. He 
reached high to undo the hasps. 

Koford is a trim, graying man : retired 
now, but youthful in his movements and 
expression. He wore an old red-checked 
shirt, with frayed holes in one shoulder. His 
face was pleasantly weathered from a life 
spent observing animals in the field — 
vicunas in South America, monkeys in 
Puerto Rico, prairie dogs on the prairie, 
and, at the beginning of his career, 
condors in southern California. 

He removed the front panel, setting it on 
the floor. An invisible cloud of naphthalene 
escaped the case and enveloped us. 
Inside the case were tour horizontal trays, 
and Koford rolled out the lowest. For an 
instant I felt like a relative called down to 
the morgue to identify a cadaver. Clearly, 
though, the corpse on the tray was no kin 
of mine. The bird was enormous — in life, 
condors weigh nine kilograms or 
more — and it lay on its back. There were 
two others supine behind it. 1 studied the 
great hooked beak, designed to tear at 
carcasses. I ran my finger along a foot, 
which, uncurled, would have had the span 
of a human hand. With a fingertip I tested 
the pinpoint of a talon, designed to hold a 
carcass down while the beak tore. There 
were, I knew, only about 30 condors left in 
the wild. It occurred to me that sometime 
early in the next century, perhaps sooner, 
the only California condors on the planet 

14 OMNI 



might lie supine on trays like these. 

I read the labels. The condor's scientific 
names were felicitous. The condor and the 
other American vultures belong to the 
family Cathartidae, from the Greek 
kathartes, "a cleanser," from katharos, 
"pure." The etymology recalled the dignity 
in what might sometimes seem a grisly 
occupation. The vultures are responsible 
for a catharsis of the landscape. Their 
job is to take things down to the bone 
again. The condor's generic name is 
Gymnogyps, its specific name califor- 
nianus. Gymnogyps derives from gymnos, 
Greek for "naked," and gyps, Greek for 
"vulture." The condor's head and neck are 
naked of feathers, an adaptation that 
allows the bird to clean itself more easily 
afterthe gruesome work, 

"This one is a juvenile male shot near 
Pasadena in 1908," Koford said, fingering 
a tag tied to the foot. 'And this one was 
taken in 1886." He burrowed his fingers 
into the downy neck of another young bird, 
as if searching for something there. "This 





One of the last of the California condors. 



one is still pretty downy," he said. "It was 
probably killed the same year it came out 
of the nest." 

He demonstrated how the young bird 
defends itself in the nest. Putting his head 
down, he hissed and hit at me awkwardly 
with his wingtips. Then he looked 
embarrassed. He had forgotten himsefr for 
a moment and had become a condor. 

Several detached flight feathers lay at 
the foot of one bird, and Koford now 
picked up two of them. "Individual 
feathers are over twenty-four inches long," 
he said. Holding a feather in either hand, 
he extended his arms, pointing the feather 
tips outward. "The length of the wing 
bones is about the same as in a human's 
arms. So this would be the wingspread." 

"Eight feet?' : I estimated, too quickly. 

"Nine," he said. He stood with his wings 
extended. He had forgotten himself again. 
For a moment, there in the narrow, navy- 
gray aisle, he soared. 

Riding the wind currents above the 
chaparral-covered California hills, condors 
make a musical, whistling sound as air 
spills past their pinions. 'As if," Peter 
Kaplan has written, "all the grace and 
freedom of flight were expressed in a few 
singing notes." 

The distinctive feature of condor flight is 
high stability in soaring. The condor's 
"loading"— its ratio of body weight to wing 
surface — is heavy, nearly twice that of 
the turkey vulture. Turkey vultures can 
ascend more quickly, but in any kind of 
turbulence they wobble markedly by 
comparison. Sailing on the thermals, 
condors hold rock-steady. Human 
observers, even experienced ones, often 
mistake condors for transport planes, and 
planes for condors. Condors can soar for 
an hour without flapping their wings. They 
can glide for eight minutes or more without 
turning and can travel about 16 kilometers 
on one tack. 

Gymnogyps is a survivor of an epoch 
when the scale of life was larger. In the 
Pleistocene Era condors appear to have 
been more abundant in North America 
than black vultures or turkey vultures. The 
smaller vultures, perhaps, were unable to 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 134 




Bv Mark R. Chartrand III 



| y the end of next month, much of 
. our information about the planet 
I Saturn will be obsolete. Pioneer 
11 will fly past Saturn on September 1, 
giving us the first-ever close-ups of that 
unusual gaseous giant. 

Not allot our information will be 
changed. We have long known exactly 
how much time Saturn takes to go once 
around the sun (29.46 of our years), how 
far it is from our system's central star (a 
mean distance of 1.427 billion kilometers) 
and that its orbit is slightly elliptical and 
inclined 2.5 degrees from the earth's orbit. 
What we will find is unknown, but we 
hope for detailed views of the planet's 
"surface"— really the top of Saturn's 
atmosphere— and of its satellites. We will 
look for a magnetic field, new rings, and 
possible new satellites. 

Through most of our history Saturn's 
rings remained unknown, for the eye alone 
cannot see them. In 1610 Galileo, with his 
first crude telescope, saw that Saturn 
seemed to be in three pieces, and he 
wondered whether the planet had 



handles, or "ears." It wasn't until 1655 that 
Christiaan Huygens saw more clearly, with 
a better instrument, that Saturn had a ring 
around it. At the same time he discovered 
Titan, Saturn's largest satellite and the 
largest moon in the solar system. 

More satellites came into view as 
telescopes were improved. In 1671 
Giovanni Domenico Cassini— who moved 
to the new Paris Observatory and 
changed his name to Jean-Domi- 
nique — found lapetus, and in the 
next year he discovered Rhea. In 1675 he 
found that there was not just one ring, but 
at least two, separated by a dark gap, 
which he named Cassini's Division. In 
1684 Cassini discovered two more moons, 
Tethys and Dione 

A century passed before Sir William 
Herschel found a pair of moons, Mimas 
and Enoeladus. It was Herschel who first 
measured the planet's rotational speed 
Measuring Saturn's speed had proved to 
' be very difficult, because Saturn has no 
very prominent features that can be 
tracked as the planet rotates. Herschel 




Voyager 1 mosaic of Jupiter foretells the revelations Pioneer 1 1 will soon send back from Saturn. 
16 OMNI 



found that Saturn iurns in a little more than 
ten hours, just slightly more slowly than 
Jupiter. This means that an object on 
Saturn's equator is traveling 36,900 
kilometers an hour just slightly less than 
the escape velocity of Earth and a quarter 
that of Saturn itself. 

Another half century went by before 
George Phillips Bond, an American, found 
the satellite Hyperion (in 1848), and yet 
another 50 years passed before William 
Pickering found the real oddball of 
Saturn's system, Phoebe, Not only is this 
satellite much more distant from Saturn 
than any other, but it is moving counter to 
all the others, in a retrograde orbit. Until 
Phoebe's discovery only one other 
retrograde satellite was known — Triton, of 
Neptune— and the discovery of Phoebe 
caused considerable consternation 
among astronomers. One anonymous 
astronomer committed his vexation to 
verse, with a parenthetical addition by the 
late Donald Menzel, of Harvard 

Phoebe, Phoebe, whirling high 

In our neatly plotted sky, 

Phoebe, listen to my lay, 

Won't you swirl the other way? 

Never mind what God has said; 

We have made a law instead. 

Have you never heard of this 

Nebular hypothesis? 

It prescribes, in terms exact, 

Just how every star should act, 

Tells each little satellite 

Where to go and whirl at night. 

(Disobedience incurs 

Anger of astronomers, 

Who — you mustn't think it odd — 

Are more finicky than God.) 

And so, my dear, you'd better change 

Really we can't rearrange 

All our charts from Mars to Hebe, 

Just to fit a chit like Phoebe. 

Now we know that Saturn has at least 1 1 
satellites, Janus was discovered in 1966, 
and an unnamed one, the innermost, was 
found just last year. Pioneer may show us 
others. 

There are some odd things about these 
satellites. Titan has a thick atmosphere 
consisting of hydrogen and methane. The 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 137 



E 



LIF 



By Dr. Bernard Dixon 



□ ne year ago this month a 
minuscule bacillus growing in 
canned salmon produced a rare 
tragedy'in Great Britain. The immediate 
result was four serious illnesses, two of 
them fatal. Over the long term, another dire 
consequence befell the food company 
concerned: a £2-million (approximately 
$4-million) shortfall in profits. 

The cause of all this, Clostridium 
botulinum, measures 1 micrometer by 
about 3-4 micrometers (one millionth of 
a meter); it is not easy to grow even 
in the laboratory. Yet the accidental 
contamination that led to its proliferation 
inside a single can of John West salmon, 
marketed by Unilever, triggered off 
horrendous infections of a sort that had 
been unknown in the United Kingdom for 
at least 20 years. The fatalities and later 
massive losses in sales provide a grim 
reminder of the influence of microbes on 
human affairs. 

C. botulinum is not a common cause of 
human disease, as are typhoid and 
cholera bacilli and the legions of various 
bacteria that ravage us from time to time 
with food poisoning. These malevolent 
microorganisms are pathogenic by 
design: Their life-style involves invading 
our guis, producing disease as they go. 
C. botulinum is feared for its consummate 
skill in manufacturing the most potent toxin 
known to mankind. Given the right 
conditions, it does so in foodstuffs. And 
the resultfor anyone ingesting it is sudden, 
calamitous, and invariably fatal illness. 

One peculiarity of this pathogen is that it 
is an anaerobe: It multiplies only in the 
absence of oxygen. Otherwise, in the 
aerated conditions that are necessary for 
most bacteria to flourish, it merely 
survives, as a hardy spore, awaiting the 
next period of oxygen starvation. Bottled 
or canned food can provide that 
circumstance. Even if only one tiny spore 
has escaped sterilization, C. botulinum 
may thrive. By a quirk of biochemistry the 
bacillus then synthesizes its deadly 
botulinus toxin. Ten millionths of a gram 
can kill a person. And the form of death is 
chillingly abhorrent. The toxin paralyzes 
nerves of the eye and throat, dilating the 

20 OMNI 



pupils and making speech or even 
swallowing impossible. Thick, vile saliva 
interferes with the victim's breathing, and 
the muscles then weaken, precipitating 
respiratory paralysis and death by 
suffocation. 

Despite the fact that they received 
speedy treatment (chiefly huge doses of 
antitoxin), two of the four persons stricken 
with botulism in Britain last summer 
succumbed to the poison. Bacteriologists 
traced the organism to just one damaged 
tin from the False Pass Cannery in Alaska. 
For three months, while investigations 
were being conducted, Unilever 
suspended all sales of tinned salmon and 
recalled products made at the plant. Sales 
lost then and since slashed the company's 
profits by an amount comparable with the 
millions of dollars lost earlier this year 
when Britain's road-haulage network and 
docks were immobilized by a lengthy 
strike of truck drivers. 

Thankfully owing to modern develop- 
ments in food processing, C. botulinum 
has become a rare and unnatural 




Incut 



scourge of Homo sapiens. Yet 

the same bacterium visits frequent 
disease upon wildlife. Botulism is the 
major natural cause of death of ducks in 
the western United States, for example, 
The scenario here is interesting. Strong 
winds wrench aquatic plants adrift, 
leaving them uprooted along a shore or 
lakeside. Invertebrates feed on the rotting 
vegetation, and, as the oxygen level. falls, 
C. botulinum begins to multiply in the 
putrid mass. Ducks consume the infected, 
poisoned material and then die, their 
bodies becoming riddled by further 
bacteria, making more poison to 
perpetuate the outbreak. Flies settle on, 
and feed off, the decaying carcasses; the 
flies help to promote the wider spread 
of disease. 

But what is the purpose of this virulent 
toxin? Unlike snake venoms, it cannot be 
considered a defensive weapon against 
predators. Unlike the endotoxins, which 
are partly responsible for the food 
poisoning caused by Salmonella, it is not 
part of the structure of the bacterium itself. 
The toxin plays no apparent role in the 
internal metabolism of C. botulinum. If the 
organism is deprived of its ability to pro- 
duce toxin, it grows just as well as before. 

Although research on the precise 
mechanisms and molecules involved in 
microbial disease has burgeoned recently 
the purpose of this fiendish poison is still 
unknown. Its existence is all the more 
puzzling when we remember that, unlike 
viruses, many bacteria do not need to 
cause disease. All viruses are necessarily 
parasitic, and all are capable of causing 
disease. This is certainly not true of 
bacteria, in general, and certainly not true 
of C. botulinum, in particular. 

When antibiotics were first discovered, 
scientists puzzled over their significance. 
Did bacteria really make such substances 
so that man could turn them into drugs to 
treat infections caused by other bacteria? 
Not at all. We now know that antibiotics 
play an important role in regulating 
microbial populations in soil and water. Yet 
we still do not understand why a humble 
bacillus, deprived of oxygen, generates a 
poison more lethal than plutonium. DO 



E 



r 



E 



OFFICIAL CIRCLES 



By William K. Stuckey 



1 ew men contrast more sharply in 
■ background or appearance than 
Senator Mark Hatfield, the 
handsome Baptist college dean and 
Oregon Republican, and Karl Hess, the 
writer, welder, and supporter ot the Black 
Panthers, Barry Goldwater, the SDS, the 
Birchers, Prince Piotr Kropotkin, and the 
right not to pay federal income taxes. 

Under the surface, however, they are not 
only ideological brothers, but ideological 
Mean Little Brothers. Hatfield is about the 
only living politician whom the politics- 
hating Hess would support for the 
presidency, and Hatfield notes {seriously?) 
that he would ring doorbells for Hess. Both 
believe that individuals can learn and 
accomplish just about anything they want 
to and will not only lose ground but slide 
blissfully toward slavery if they allow any 
large institution— government, corporation, 
church, union, etc. — to do the learning 
and accomplishing for them. They believe, 
in short, in neighborhood government as a 
basic governing unit of the United States, 
and to hell with both public and private 
Big Brothers. 

Hatfield, by far the more mainstream of 
the two, would pass laws to provide 
neighborhood independence — allowing 
taxpayers, for example, to retain up to 80 
percent of their federal income taxes to 
use for local purposes. The free-wheeling 
Hess would have his small communities 
declare unilateral independence from 
Washington by using a combination of 
science, technology, and town-hall 
meetings. 

Rather radical thinking, until you realize 
that politicians as diverse as Ronald 
Reagan and Senator Edward 
Kennedy — along with Tom Hayden and 
other elements of the old New Left — have 
spoken kindly of increasing a 
neighborhood's independence from 
government and from corporations by 
employing "community technology" to 
fulfill its own survival needs. Note also that 
a Carter-appointed Presidential 
Commission on Neighborhoods this past 
spring reported that the flourishing 
neighborhood-government movement 
came into being because of the public's 

22 OMNI 



pervasive frustration with Big Brother 
government and that it "represents a 
demand for debureaucratizing America." 

Community Technology , incidentally, is 
also the title of Hess's latest book (Harper 
& Row). Any 1980 presidential candidate 
who ignores it stands to lose the truly 
considerable vote of the "Don't Tread on 
Me"s; the national referendum supporters 
who want not only to send Washington a 
message but to make it binding; the 
1984-is-nearly-here intellectuals; and the 
Karl Hessian tech-erhooders who shout, 
"I'd rather do it myself." There are a lot of 
mean little brothers out there. (Prediction: 
Governor Jerry Brown of California soon 
will imply that he was the silent coauthor of 
Community Technology. Hess, however, 
doesn't coauthor anything with anybody.) 

Hess not only preaches what I call 
populist science; he also practices it. How 
he drifted into it, what he did with it, and 
what he is doing now should become one 
of the great American folktales. 

Hess, a Filipino-German, who is as 
American as Plymouth Rock, was born 56 
years ago in the Adams -Morgan 




Karl Hess, author of Community Technology. 



neighborhood of the nation's capital (now 
predominantly black and Hispanic). His 
mother taught him how to read — he 
doesn't believe in schools — and, in short 
order, he dropped out of high school at 
fifteen, was a Washington city editor at 
twenty, and began writing speeches for 
the Republican party. He capped that 
career with his 1964 speech for Barry 
Goldwater, and particularly with that (then) 
most controversial phrase: "Extremism in 
defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in 
pursuit of justice is no virtue." 

(In his book The Dosadi Experiment, 
Frank Herbert— author of Dune — created, 
a most Hess-like society, the Gowachins, 
who gave their highest honors to those 
lawyers who most thoroughly discredited 
the law.) 

Goldwater lost in 1964, and Hess was 
out of a job. He drove trucks, learned 
welding, and by the late 1960s was 
hanging around with the Black Panthers 
and the Students for a Democratic Society. 
An astonishing change, observers noted. 
Not at all, as Hess told me recently over 
the kitchen table of his self-built solar 
home in West Virginia. 

"The SDS was like Senator Robert A. 
Taft come to life, a superb organization," 
he remarked as my jaw unhinged. "They 
believed in participatory democracy — 
and that's my passion — and 
isolationism— they called it anti- 
imperialism — which is fine with me. As 
President, I would immediately break 
relations with all nation-states and 
establish ties with all neighborhoods on 
Earth, But I was particularly close to the 
Panthers, absolutely the best of the black 
groups. They were straight individualist 
Republicans in their actions, although 
their newspaper was bullshit." 

Hess drifted back to Adams-Morgan 
and, with his wife and a physicist friend, 
began an astounding — and highly 
successful — experiment in little-brother 
self-reliance. He became frustrated with 
New Left partisans who would talk theory 
into the night but didn't know how to do 
anything. He wanted to prove that 
technology was great— not a killer — if you 
understood and controlled it. He wanted :: 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 127 



TELEVISION 
THE ARTS 



By James Delson 



i ven before Star Wars and 2001- A 
i Space Odyssey brought the 
i feeling of space home to Earth. 
American television audiences had flown 
to the moon and beyond. They were led 
info the vast reaches of space by none 
other than Walt Disney. Disney melded 
together a variety of diverse scientific and 
technical elements to present a truly 
realistic approach to the special effects of 
space travel. Disney's three-part television 
series on space. Man in Space, Man and 
the Moon, and Mars and Beyond, 
presented first in the 1950s, was produced 
and directed by Disney animator Ward 
Kimball, with scientific input from Wernher 
von Braun, Willy Ley, Dr. Heinz Haber, and 
Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger 

Kimball, now retired from the Disney 
Studio, still runs the only private backyard 
railroad and model-train museum in the 
country. He talked recently about the 
television trilogy and suggested we see 
the new Disney release, King Arthur and 
the Astronaut. 

"George Pal, the creative force behind 
Destination Moon and The Conquest of 
Space, was dealing with science fiction," 



Kimball related. "He took all sorts of 
liberties with space and even more with 
things that might happen there. This 
wasn't a bad thing. Pal made wonderfu 
films, but you had to lose yourself in his 
logic. It was a different scale. But we dealt 
in something that was a little more logical, 
using known facts." 

Collier's magazine had run a series 
dealing with space as the Fifties began, 
showing what the leading scientists of the 
time predicted for the future of colonization 
and travel in space and the military use of 
space. Disney borrowed both ideas and 
scientists from the articles to create what 
was originally planned as a one-shot 
program, to be called Rockets and Space. 

"Walt called an initial meeting, at which 
he said, 'Let's do something following the 
Collier's articles and Von Braun's theories 
and so forth.' We came up with a general 
concept and then filled up the whole room 
with all the aspects of the intended show, 
Rockets and Space. He looked at all this 
during the second meeting and said, 
'Gee, you've got enough here for two 
shows.' At our third meeting I said, 'Look, 
we have this idea of breaking off a third 




;i-rt{i. 



A "space walk" as depicted for television, in the Disney production of Man and the Moon. 

24 OMNI 



segment to deal with Mars.' It was coming 
in very close to the earth at that time, fifty 
million miles or something. Waif said, 
'Yeah, right away.' " 

Immersed in his dream of Disneyland at 
the time, Disney gave Kimball con- 
siderably more creative freedom than he 
would have allowed earlier. "He might have 
gone for more of a documentary feel, 
downplaying the fantasy stuff, but he 
trusted me to do it well," Kimball said. "We 
didn't know exactly what the state of the 
art was when we started the picture. We 
could only get it through Von Braun. At the 
time he was working on his first satellite. 
Explorer 7 . He was doing it almost as a 
hobby. But to understand the situation, you 
have to get back to the initial reasons for 
things. 

"The Navy was always fighting the Air 
Force, which was fighting the Army, and all 
for prestige reasons. For appropriations. 
For budgets. The Navy wanted to have the 
prestige of launching the first satellite, the 
Vanguard rocket. I don't know how Von 
Braun felt about it, but we had already 
developed Explorer 1 , and the Navy knew 
he was taking appropriations money to 
develop his sideline when he was 
supposed to be working on modernizing 
and improving the V-2 missiles. But he 
wasn't interested in killing people He 
wanted to take the lead in space travel. 
Well, when people got wind of his satellite 
work, they told him to stop. He was very 
bitter about it for a time, because he 
thought America could have beaten the 
Russians into space by a year. 

"It was our idea to bring Von Braun in as 
an expert. And he jumped at the chance 
because he was trying to publicize his 
idea. Collier's had been the best coverage 
he'd had, but he realized the potential of 
television. Millions of people would be 
looking at a Disney show, and with the 
prestige of the Disney name this would be 
a big step forward in his campaign to get 
the Pentagon off their ass and do 
something about the space program." 

200): A Space Odyssey was the first 
major film to use what is now known as the 
"hardware" approach to outer space, 
because of the rough look of the 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 142 . 



THE ARTS 



By James Delson 



It's doubtful that many filmgoers have 
ever stopped to think how important a 
part science fiction has played in the 
17-year, 11-film cycle of films about the 
world's most famous spy, James Bond . 
Struck by the glamour, the gunplay the 
gimmickry and the wisecracks, one 
comes away moved more by the overall 
effect of the component parts than by any 
specific element. Under closer exami- 
nation, however, scientific speculation 
traces a continuous thread through 
the series. 

Over time there has been a gradual 
proliferation in Bondian gadgetry as each 
film attempted to surpass its immediate 
predecessor in creating newer, better, 
more original, and, ultimately, more 
expensive toys to feed the audience's 
insatiable appetite for electronic 
complexity. The correlation between 
elaborate gimmickry, as created by the 
film's special-effects men, and box-office 
profits has remained constant: More of the 
former results in more of the latter. 

Moving with the times, the Bond 
pictures have constantly been aimed at 
the current audience, not the one that went 
to see the last film. Properly infused with 
the most current technology and utilizing 
incredible variations on the materiel of 
current-day news items (supertankers, 
moon shots, communications satellites), 
they have moved ever closer to science 
fiction as the Cold War has receded from 
the consciousness of world leaders. Albeit 
the East-West rivalry of the Fifties 
dominated Ian Fleming's first few Bond 
books, the later offerings (both in print and 
on film). have cast aside the 
cloak-and-dagger aspects for more 
colorful, larger-than-life items, most of 
which are of a scientific provenance. 
Scientific gadgetry for military or civilian 
use has been at the core of most Bond 
films: Dr. No in Dr. No misguided U.S. 
missiles; in Goldfinger the villain planned 
to contaminate Fort Knox with a 
'particularly dirty" bomb; Thunderbal! saw 
the world held at ransom by those who had 
"skyjacked" nuclear weapons; both 
Russian and American astronauts and 
their craft were-"space-jacked" in You Only 

26 OMNI 



Live Twice; sophisticated brainwashing 
techniques were used on daughters of 
world leaders in On Her Majesty's Secret 
Service ; a laser-armed communications 
satellite was used to threaten the world in 
Diamonds Are Forever; and American, 
British, and Russian submarines were 
"sea-jacked" in The Spy Who Loved Me. 
Each subsequent film has been more 
grotesque, more improbable, and more 
gimmick-laden than the last, but the saga 
of James Bond has proved successful for 
almost two decades. 

And now comes Moonraker — at $25 
million, the costliest Bond to date. Derek 
Weddings, one of 1979's Academy 
Award-winning special-effects men (for 
Superman), was Moonraker's supervisor 
of special effects, serving on his fourth 
Bond film. "Of course, I've actually been 
working on Superman II for a while now," 
Meddings said, "but I suppose it's all right 
to spend some time making Moonraker." 
We were sitting in the restaurant of the 
Pinewood film studio, an hour outside of 
central London. As we talked, well-wishers 
came up to congratulate Meddings on his 




Moonraker, the $25-rnil!ion James Bond movie. 



recently won Oscar. Quiet, but spirited, he 
physically resembles the men who sell 
after-shave lotion in television 
commercials, his graying hair topping 
distinguished English features. After he 
had worked in the film industry nearly all 
his adult life, and in special effects for over 
two decades, his greatest creative period 
began on the Bond series. 

"I'd been involved in low-budget films 
and had graduated to bigger and better 
pictures, but the Bond films always 
seemed magical to me. I had thought that 
someone just sort of pointed his finger and 
all those things just materialized. Once I 
started on them, however, I realized that 
they were just like every other film. Just 
bloody hard work. 

"I started on Live and Let Die [1973], 
which was also the first picture that had 
Roger Moore as James Bond. Like all 
Bond films, it was a special-effects man's 
dream, because essentially people go into 
cinema houses to see Bond do his stuff, 
and his stuff is our creation. On Live and 
Let Die we had to really outdo what had 
been done in the Sean Connery pictures in 
order to get the audience to accept Roger 
as James. He had a hell of a task, you 
know. A hell of a man to follow. Sean 
Connery 

"I always think back to who was 
Sherlock Holmes and think of Basil 
Rathbone. Nobody has ever played 
Holmes as well as he did. He's the one 
who comes to mind. And the same with 
poor Roger. He's always got Connery in 
the shadows. Well, the whole picture was 
laid out to give Roger a chance to fit into 
the part. It was like, 'Let's stick him into 
every possible situation and let him act his 
way out of it; then, as soon as he's out, get 
him into another one.' A lot of people have 
accepted him as Bond now, but this is a 
matter of opinion. 

"On The Man with the Golden Gun the 
script didn't hold together. To me it was 
one of the worst Bonds, but Christopher 
Lee was such a stylish villain that the level 
was brought up." 

When The Spy Who Loved Me came 
along, Meddings and the effects team 
were told, as usual, that it had to beat ail 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 142 



THE ARTE 



By Stephen Demorest 



They are powerful magic to an 
artist, these visions that come 
sliding out of the black box at the 
press of a button. He casts an image 
under the spel! of three swooping colored 
lights, and it returns vivid as a 
dream — textured, richly colored, 
hallucinated. 

Born and bred to be imitative drones for 
the business world, color-copying 
machines like 3M Corporation's 
Color-in-Color and the Xerox 6500 have 
surprised and captivated their masters 
with the infinite range of their personalities. 
After a decade of continuous exploration, 
new ideas capable of sustaining an artist's 
relentless addiction to discovery keep 
floating out of the slot. Thanks to unique 
assistance from the scientific community, 
the color copier has become the modern 
graphic artist's most essential new tool. 

"I think the machine is an intimate 
miracle," says Patrick Firpo, coauthor of 
Copy Art, the first thorough layman's guide 
to the copy machine. Firpo, who used to 
stage rock-and-roll light shows at New 
York's Fillmore East, got hooked on copy 



art when publishers rejected his proposal 
for a book of album-cover art but flipped 
over the quality of his Xerox color samples. 
"it's really instant gratification; you push a 
button, and thirty seconds later you see 
what you've got. Then you can make some 
changes, push the button again, and out 
comes a modified version. It's ideal as a 
fast, inexpensive way to develop themes. 

"We've found a lot of artists using copy 
machines, from Robert Rauschenberg to 
people just fooling around in Des Moines. 
Peter Max had a color machine he was 
using for drawings, Larry Rivers works with 
multiples. He'll take a sketch and copy it 
and then color it in fifteen or twenty 
different ways until he comes up with the 
combination he wants. I would say any 
major artist who's had anything to do with 
printing has at one time or another fooled 
around with color xerography. If 
Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci had 
had a Xerox machine, they'd have whaled 
with it." 

Dry copiers are based on an 
electrophotographic process that was 
developed in 1938 by Chester Carlson. 




Jack Kaminsky made Guggt 

28 OMNI 



nheim by superimposing three b/w photos on color Xerox. 



Basically, a photoconductive surface is 
charged with static electricity, which 
attracts a dry powder. The powder is then 
transferred to paper or fused to it by heat. 
Carlson spent ten frustrating years being 
rebuffed by companies such as IBM, 
RCA, and Kodak before the Haloid 
Company agreed to back what it called 
xerography ("dry writing") and made 
stock-market history. 

It wasn't Xerox, though, but 3M 
Corporation's Don Conlin and Dr. Douglas 
Dybvig who came up with the first 
dry-color machine in 1968. their 
Color-in-Color system involves red-, 
green-, and blue-filtered light exposures 
that successively zap iron-oxide powder 
on coated Mylar sheets. This intermediate 
image conducts heat that causes 
microencapsulated yellow, magenta, and 
cyan dyes on the other side to burst, thus 
printing a multihued blend on the plain 
paper. 

During their investigations, Conlin and 
Dybvig took the unusual step of consulting 
a veteran artist, Sonia Landy Sheridan. As 
a teacher, she has been concerned with a 
broad range of imaging systems for over 
30 years, the past 10 as head of the 
Generative Systems program at Chicago's 
School of Art Institute. She seems to have 
scant respect for those who "don't know 
more than to press a button" and will 
patiently lecture you like an old-fashioned 
schoolmarm on the classic "Meet Mr. 
Wizard" home-style techniques involving 
carbon paper, static electricity, and lemon 
juice. 

"We have a program here-that's ten 
years old and that's trained maybe ten 
thousand people with the help of 3M 
Corporation. We've set up machines from 
northern Minnesota to Texas, and our 
students have taught at UCLA. The young 
people coming up now have not just 
discovered this stuff. The teaching has 
been going on for well over a decade." 

Nevertheless, the simplicity of the copy 
operation encourages anyone coordinated 
enough to stab a button to try his hand 
(actually just his finger) at creating "art." 
Color machines are now available at copy 
centers in most major cities, and the rates 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 133 




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E 



UFD UPDATE 



By James Oberg 



m early three years ago a 
spectacular UFO appeared in 
the night sky over Tehran, 
Iran. In past ages comets were said to 
foretell the fall of kings. Perhaps in this 
space-minded era flying saucers fulfill the 
same function. Turmoil was soon to topple 
the shah. 

The UFO chased by Iranian Air Force 
F-4 fighters on the night of September 19, 
1976, spawned a baffling story, claims of a 
cover-up by the United States, and a 
legend that went far beyond the drab facts 
of the event. Late in 1977 the National 
Enquirer selected the incident as the 
"most scientifically valuable" UFO case of 
1976. A special "blue-ribbon panel" of 
UFO experts sponsored by the newspaper 
testified that the Iranian UFO represented 
a genuinely unexplainable phenomenon. 
Skeptics, of course, quickly pointed out 
that the UFO "experts" had relied princi- 
pally on a two-page summary prepared by 
a bored U.S. Air Force officer who had 



attended the debriefing of an Iranian F-4 
crew and on some news clippings and a 
few telephone calls. Nobody, it seemed, 
had actually researched the case. They 
had merely agreed that it sounded like a 
good story. 

Better yet, considering Iran's political 
situation, it seemed certain that nobody 
else would ever be able to investigate the 
story adequately. Thus, the reported UFO 
could remain safely unidentified forever. 
But the mystery of the UFO was due more 
to the political confusion surrounding the 
incident than to the details of the case 
itself. 

It certainly sounds like a good story. 
During the thrilling encounters the Iranian 
pilots appear to have been in fear for their 
lives. Earthly explanations seem weak 
next to human terror. 

Shortly after midnight on September 19, 
1976, Mehrebad Air Force Base received 
several phone calls. Some civilians had 
spotted a bright light in the sky and were 




UFO flew along a rural road in Diamante Entre Rios, Argentina, for a few minutes in July 1976. 
30 OMNI 



concerned. The officer in charge, Major 
General Yousafi, went out to see for 
himself and saw a bright starlike object. 
(In fact, the planet Jupiter was near its 
maximum brilliance in the east.) A check 
with radar at the Babolsar and Shahrokhi 
air force bases showed nothing unusual. 

But Yousefi, surprised by the brilliance 
of the light, decided to scramble an F-4 
Phantom jet, an extremely unusual event, 
as most Iranian jet pilots are very 
inexperienced in nighttime air operations. 

UFO investigators have been frustrated 
because the UFO's direction and the 
pursuing Phantom's flight path have never 
been adequately described. Explanations 
and searches for contradictions in the 
accounts are therefore fruitless. 

According to a debriefing summary 
given by the U.S. Air Force, this F-4 
suddenly experienced a communications 
blackout and returned to base. Since it 
had been chasing a UFO, though there is 
nothing to indicate that it had gotten close, 
the experts immediately decided that the 
UFO had caused the blackout. 

A second jet had been launched ten 
minutes after the first. It, too, tried to 
approach the UFO, which appeared to 
recede constantly as the pilot, Lieutenant 
Jafari, approached. (That, incidentally is 
exactly how a distant light in the sky would 
have appeared.) But suddenly the UFO 
seemed to attack the second F-4. 

In the published accounts the pilot 
reports seeing an object suddenly break 
away from the main UFO and come at the 
jet head on. Jafari tried to fire an AIM-9 
missile, one of the Sidewinder series, but 
"his weapons-control panel went off" and 
froze his attempt. At the same time his 
communications blacked out. 

These reports, based on tape record- 
ings of the air-to-ground communications, 
were played for newsmen the following 
day. What is interesting about them is that 
the account of the failures on the first jet 
was based on a story told by the second 
pilot the next day The tape recordings 
played for the reporters evidently failed to 
mention the loss of communications. 

The electrical failure on the second jet, 
however, seems to have been quite real. 



The pilot panicked and put his plane into a 
steep dive as the smaller UFO zoomed 
right at him, then passed inside his turn 
and slid back to the origi nal object for "a 
perfect rejoin." 

Such maneuvers are remarkable. If they 
had taken place as described, however, it 
would have been even more remarkable 
for Jafari to see them. In fact, he thought 
the object was getting closer because it 
was getting brighter. In a dead-on 
approach the object would not appear to 
move in the sky at all. As for the 
maneuvers seen during the pilot's 
panicked dive, they seem similar to 
maneuvers reported by other pilots who, 
misjudging the range to an unknown light 
in the night sky, have miscalculated the 
object's flight path. 

Based on the information at hand, we 
just do not know what took place between 
that jet and the light. We may never know, 
and this uncertainty must please UFO 
experts who have been touting the case 
without ever investigating it. 

The story is not over, though. Another 
object appeared, dropping from the 
purported mother ship. The F-4 attempted 
to approach it, and the pilot reported 
seeing a light on the ground— presumably 
the one that had dropped from the UFO 
some minutes earlier. The light dazzled 
Jafari's eyes, wiping out his night vision. 
While returning to the air base, Jafari 
noticed some radio interference. Later he 
reported seeing another UFO pass over 
him. When prompted, ground controllers 
in the airport tower also saw a light in the 
sky. 

The UFO story was everywhere in the 
Tehran newspapers for days afterward. 
Military attaches at the U.S. embassy 
noted the account, had it translated, and 
forwarded it to Washington. The Iranians, 
meanwhile, seemed puzzled. But as time 
went by, they were less and less alarmed. 
Early in October the shah himself brought 
up the encounter during a ceremonial visit 
by American astronauts. They, too, were 
unable to explain it. 

The actual event had barely ended 
when the myths began to grow. First came 
a story that the U.S. government was 
trying to hush it up by keeping its files 
secret— files that were nothing more than 
translations of Tehran newspaper 
accounts and an account of the Iranian 
pilots' debriefing. Later stories told of a 
humanoid space creature that had 
attacked local farmers during the 
dogfight In St. Louis, Missouri, UFO buffs 
claimed that the Iranian jet had been ■ 
kidnapped by the UFO and that the pilot 
had never been found. The Iranian UFO 
was well on its way to becoming a classic. 

Official sanction of the case came last 
January 31, when the National Enquirer 
publicized the decision of its experts. The 
paper gave a check for $5,000 to the 
ambassador from Iran at the time 
Ardeshir Zahedi, on behalf of the four 
pilots, an airforce general, and an 

32 OMNI 



air-traffic controller. Since the Iranian 
military personnel were not allowed to 
accept cash gifts, the money was donated 
to the Red Lion and Sun, the Iranian 
eguivalent of the Red Cross. 

According to Dr. James Harder, 
professor of civil engineering at the 
University of California at Berkeley and 
director of research for the Aerial 
Phenomena Research Organization, a 
long-established civilian UFO group, "the 
case was particularly important, because 
it provided evidence for long-range 
jamming of fire-control electronics. You 
can always jam communications, but [the 
capability] to jam the electronics of fire 
control within the plane is something that 
has not been firmly established before." 

Another panel member, Dr. Frank 
Salisbury, a plant physiologist at Utah 
State University, dismissed any possible 
explanations beforehand: "If a UFO cannot 
be explained as a natural or psychological 
phenomenon, hoax, or secret weapon, 




UFO above Indonesian waters, 1976. 

then it's of high interest to scientific UFO 
investigation. This case meets this 
criterion. Too many witnesses in highly 
responsible positions were involved for us 
to think of hoaxes or hallucinations." 

This statement presents a summary 
judgment, its list of alternatives is 
incomplete. And as far as "secret 
weapons" are concerned, the panel 
lacked the top-secret Soviet records for 
that date. Even Iranian and American 
records were unavailable. That avenue of 
research is definitely still untrod— and 
likely to remain so forever. 

Harder and Salisbury, along with panel 
members Dr. John L. Warren, of the Los 
Alamos Scientific Laboratory, and Dr. Leo 
Sprinkle, of the University of Wyoming, in 
Laramie, were evidently convinced that 
here at last was a UFO case that could not 
be solved by archskeptic Philip J. Klass. 
Klass, a Washington-based aviation 
journalist and author of two books on UFO 
cases he claims to have solved, has made 
a habit of investigating the National 



Enquirer's "best cases" over the years. He 
has often uncovered information that the 
pro-UFO investigators had not found or 
had chosen not to tell the public. 

Klass's difficulties in attacking this case 
were compounded by distance and by the 
web of military security that had been 
wrapped around it. The language barrier 
promised to throw more snares in his path. 
In fact, some cynical observers of the 
strange world of UFOria privately 
suggested that the Iranian case had been 
chosen over a hypnotic-regression UFO 
kidnapping in Kentucky primarily because 
it would prove impossible to research. 

If so, the panel has been partially 
successful. Klass has not yet issued a full 
report on his investigation. Recently, 
though, he told Omni that he has turned 
up some very interesting details. "I have 
talked with several American technical 
representatives who were in Iran," he 
recounted. "Two were at Shahrokhi. They 
offered an explanation for the electronic 
outage experienced by the second F-4." 
Klass promises to publish his findings in 
the near future. 

The dramatic story of the panicked pilot, 
Jafari, trying to fire his Sidewinder missile 
with a frozen weapons-control panel also 
turned out to have been garbled in the 
retelling. Experts from the Tactical Air 
Command told Klass that the weapons 
panel has nothing to do with the 
Sidewinder, which is fired from another 
electrical circuit entirely. 

"Most important to me," Klass 
concluded, "the Iranian Air Force never 
called in American experts to do a 
thorough checkout for damage." 

In examining this case, Klass noted that 
fireballs had been seen in the skies over 
Morocco that same night, and a 
Portuguese jet liner had reported a bright 
fireball over the eastern part of the Atlantic 
Ocean. To some, this suggests that the 
UFO was streaking westward at high 
speed. To skeptics, it reveals the existence 
of a bright meteor shower that could have 
helped confuse the frightened Iranian 
pilots. 

Because of recent events in Iran, 
nvestigations seem to have reached a 
dead end. But Klass is continuing to 
search for American engineers who were 
in Iran at the time. The idea that the . 
"sighting" was really a series of 
coincidences and panicked 
misidentifications, while possible, 
has not yet been established. 

Without a thorough investigation, this 
ranian case should never have received 
the official pro-UFO enddrsements that it 
has garnered. Nor should it be so widely 
flaunted as the best proof that UFOs are 
real. Of course, it could be the best if there 
are no better cases to rely on. That in itself 
would be a harsh indictment of the quality 
of UFO evidence available today! 

Anyone recently returned from Iran who 
has insights into this case can contact 
Philip Klass through this column. DO 




coruTimuufui 



v_ 



D 



V_ 



OG 



Last November a worker at Union Carbide's Texas City, 
Texas, vinyl chloride plant complained to the Occupa- 
tional Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that 
he and a number of his fellow employees had suffered 
cam tumors. Two weeks later inspectors from OSHA found that 
1 1 workers did indeed have tumors. A quick check of Monsanto's 
Texas vinyl chloride plant turned up five more cases. 

The workers suspected all along that their jobs were giving 
them cancer. OSHA's conclusion was more guarded: "The inci- 
dence would appear to be higher than expected" and "one of the 
chemical agents associated with this type of tumor is vinyi-chlo- 
-ide monomer," read the OSHA statement of February 14, 1979. 
By this date, however, most of the brain-tumor victims were 
already dead. A computerized early-warning system might have 
saved them. Unfortunately, most human carcinogens today are 
dentified only after the workers have died. 

"The truth is that we do not know who is exposed to what 
carcinogens and how much exposure they have," admitted Dr. 
Marvin Schneiderman, associate director of science policy for 
the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and former director of SEER 
: Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results). SEER was establ- 
ished by NCI in 1973 to obtain information on the incidence of, 
and mortality from, tumors in the United States. It gets its informa- 
Bon from 10 million hospital records. But hospitals often fail to 
record job histories accurately or completely. "If we were to take 
those records literally we would believe that all occupations were 
either 'retired' or 'housewife,' " Dr, Schneiderman said. 

The information provided to SEER includes area of residence, 
site of tumor, condition of the patient, and how the diagnosis was 
established. But even such meager information can pay off. 
SEER epidemiologists picked up a high incidence of lung cancer 
along the southeast coast and in Maine. They placed an indus- 
trial map over the area and discovered a concentration of wood- 
-dustry facilities. They thought that this was the answer. But 
when investigators went into the area, they were surprised at 
tfhat they found. Instead of the wood industry being the common 
"-nominator, shipyard work during World War !l was. The iung- 
;cicer victims had been employed years before in places where 
ssbestos, a lung carcinogen, had been used. 
SEER epidemiological studies have also made correlations 



between Sun Belt states and skin cancer; estrogen use and 
melanoma (a deadiy skin cancer); estrogen use and cancer of 
the uterus; smoking and lung cancer in women; and, for some as 
yet unexplained reason, a decrease in breast cancer in women 
under forty years of age. 

The information developed by SEER has already saved some 
lives and could save many more. However, the entire agency has 
only 35 workers and a total budget of $20 million. Compared to 
the cost of cancer— $30 b/7//on per year— the amount is ludi- 
crously spare. To be more effective, Schneiderman said, more 
than ten times the staff would be needed and a reporting system 
would have to be set up for the entire nation. 

SEER personnel, for instance, would like to follow the health 
records of residents in the area of the nuclear accident at Three 
Mile Island. The ideal way to do so would be to base records on 
social security numbers, but federal law states that such num- 
bers may be used only for purposes of social security. Schnei- 
derman has mixed emotions, as do other epidemiologists, if 
social security numbers or some other effective tracking system 
were used, would the information gathered then be vulnerable to 
law enforcement officials, insurance companies, and employ- 
ers? No one would deny such Big Brother dangers exist. How- 
ever, safeguards could be established. Epidemiologists could 
be protected by confidentiality laws, just as doctors, lawyers, 
and clergymen are. Codes could be used and participants couid 
be given a choice of providing further information or remaining 
anonymous. 

Every primary cancer diagnosed should be reported to a 
computer facility. Pertinent information, such as current and 
former places of employment, current and former areas of resi- 
dence, family medical history, habits, hobbies, and diet, should 
be included, impossible? Impractical? Such information already 
exists about most of us. Credit bureaus and insurance com- 
panies base decisions upon such data. 

With sufficient information, epidemiologists could pinpoint 
those cancer-causing agents to which we are exposed, and 
steps could then be taken to protect us before it is too late. For the 
vinyl-chloride workers in Texas, the clock ran out. 

We have a choice. Risk privacy or risk cancer. 

-RUTH WINTER 




CDQJTimuunn 



PSORIASIS CURE 

If you're one of those un- 
fortunates afflicted with "the 
heartbreak of psoriasis," 
there's a new cure: Take a 
bath in the Dead Sea. 

Dr. Willy W Avrach, direc- 
tor of the Dead Sea Interna- 
tional Psoriasis Treatment 
Center, has found that a 
month of bath treatments in 
the fabled body of water is 
just as effective as traditional 
hospital therapy, according 
to the Journal of the Ameri- 
can Medical Association . 

The highly saline waters of 
the Dead Sea, in combina- 
tion with ultraviolet rays from 
sunlight, can clear up the 
skin disease. And the results 
are spectacular. Of the 1,631 
patients whose data were 
analyzed by Dr. Avrach. 95 
percent showed improve- 
ment during the four-week 
therapy session. Forty-four 
percent had recurrences 
within four weeks after the 




Dead Sea mud bath; The waters 
may be good for the skin. 
36 OMNI 



sessions, but this rate com- 
pares favorably with other 
therapies, which have recur- 
rence rates ranging from 45 
percent to 95 percent. 

—Joel Davis 

FOOD APPEAL 

The texture of your food 
may be more important in 
appeal than taste. "Foods 
like potato chips, raw car- 
rots, and nuts are popular 
because of texture, not be- 
cause of taste. And some 
foods, like lettuce, have 
prominent texture but no 
taste," explains Dr. ChoKun 
Rha, associate professor of 
food-process engineering at 
Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology. Her present goal 
is to find foods that might 
have better structure, or tex- 
ture, than the real thing. 

"Free-water release" 
(juiciness) is one prime con- 
sideration, says Dr. Rha. And 
a promising material for con- 
trolling water release is the 
cell-wall material of cranber- 
ries after their juice has been 
extracted. 

A tiny amount of the cran- 
berry material mixed with 
water becomes like 
applesauce. Tasteless, the 
cranberry ceils catch water 
in tiny sacs, much as juice is 
encapsulated in fruit cells. 
"The capsules, with an aver- 
age diameter of about ten 
microns, could be layered 
with protein from soy or corn, 
and help solve the problem 
of the 'juicy steak' goal," Rha 
says. Cranberry-cell walls 
also offer the prospect of 
making synthetic fruit or 
other foods, including 
"caviar" and food spreads. 

— Alton Blakeslee 



SF INVENTIONS 

Computers, lasers, holo- 
grams, test-tube babies, 
communications 
satellites— science fiction 




Robert Heiniein "invented" 
Waldo, a remote-control arm. 

has invented these and 
many more. 

Cleve Cartmill wrote, in a 
1944 story called "Deadline," 
a detailed description of the 
atomic bomb. Yet neither he 
nor the rest of humanity then 
knew about the secret work 
of the Manhattan Project. 

One of the greatest SF 
writers, Robert Heiniein, 
predicted correctly a long 
hiatus in space exploration 
after people walked on the 
moon. He also invented, in a 
1940s story, the mechanical 
arm, or Waldo, that is used 
today to move radioactive 
material. 

Space warps, the fic- 
tionalized tunnels through 
the universe, may someday 
become reality. Scientists 
have already discovered 



black holes, the remains of 
collapsed stars that suck in 
all matter and light around 
them. They have speculated 
about white holes that spit 
out matter. Theorists believe 
that these black and white 
holes may somehow be con- 
nected as tunnels through 
space and time. 

Even SF movies have been 
prophetic. German film- 
maker Fritz Lang wanted to 
heighten the drama of his 
1929 movie, Woman in the 
Moon. So he added a 
countdown from ten sec- 
onds. Later NASA adopted 
the idea of counting back- 
wards for the space 
program. 

— Kenneth Jon Rose 

BEES AND MELONS 

As if producing honey and 
cross-pollinating flowers 
weren't enough, bees have 
now been found to be useful 
for growing melons. The U.S. 
Agriculture Department has 
discovered that placing 
beehives in cantaloupe 
fields increases both the 
size and the number of 
melons. 

Four hives, each contain- 
ing 30,000 bees, on an Indi- 
ana farm caused enough 
extra pollination to increase 
the number of melons by 23 
percent. In addition, indi- 
vidual melons averaged 10 
percent heavier than those in 
a control group— 2.2 kilo- 
grams each, instead of 2.0. 

Researchers believe that 
one hive per acre is enough 
to induce the changes. Al- 
ready the demand for bee- 
hives is up sharply among 
melon farmers. 

— Stuart Diamond 



OLD CONDUCTORS 

There's something healthy 
Ecout conducting a major 
symphony orchestra, ac- 
icrding to a California 



Philharmonic, is now 90. 

"I couldn't find a prema- 
ture death in any of the great 
conductors," he says. 

Not only do leading mae- 
stros die at advanced ages, 




Igor Stravinsky lived to be 88. Longevity of conductors has been 
attributed to world recognition and "gratifying stress." 



physician and amateur 
musician. Dr. Donald H. At- 
las, of the school of 
medicine at the University of 
California at San Diego, 
found that the mean age of 
death for 35 famous conduc- 
tors selected at random was 
73.4 years. 

The life expectancy of the 
average American male is 
only 68.5 years. . 

Some conductors died at 
very advanced ages, includ- 
ing Leopold Stokowski, at 
95; ArturoToscanini, at 90; 
Igor Stravinsky, at 88; Walter 
Damrosch, at 88; and Bruno 
Walter, at 85. Although no 
women were in the group 
studied, Dr. Atlas notes that 
Nadia Boulanger, the first 
woman to conduct a full 
concert of the New York 



but they remain productive 
almost until their death. Atlas 
believes that the "sense of 
fulfillment that comes with 
world recognition" contrib- 
utes to the longevity of con- 
ductors. Stress is often 
present, but it is "gratifying 
stress." Atlas discounts the 
theory that the energetic arm 
waving of today's conduc- 
tors provides exercise that 
prolongs life. The early con- 
ductors, he noted, scarcely 
moved their arms; yet they, 
too, reached advanced 
ages. — Barbara Ford 

"Law of Thermodynamics: 

1. You cannot win. 

2. You cannot break even. 

3. You cannot get out of the 
game." 

—Anonymous 



WEIGH-IN 

A process that will touch 
every American was quietly 
completed last fall — the 
standardization of weights 
and measures for the first 
time in 100 years. 

Each of the 50 states, 
Puerto Rico, the Virgin Is- 
lands, and the District of 
Columbia were given 53 sets 
of weights and measures by 
the National Bureau of Stan- 
dards. Copies of these mea- 
sures will be distributed to 
local inspectors, who will 
check everything from the 
calibration on gasoline 
pumps to the scales in the 
supermarket. Weights and 
measures that are off by 
even a fraction of a percent 
can cause the overcharg- 
ing — or undercharging — 
of millions of dollars a year. 

The standards from which 
these measures were made 
are no longer physical, ex- 
cept for the kilogram, which 
is defined by a platinum- 
indium cylinder. The meter, 
once defined by a platinum- 
indium bar, is now defined 
by wavelengths of light. The 
second, once kept by care- 
fully built mechanical clocks, 
is now measured by the 
radiation cycles of a 
cesium-133 atom. — S.D. 

THIRSTY TIGERS 

Bengal tigers have been 
killing people in certain re- 
gions of India and 
Bangladesh for decades 
because the tigers don't 
have enough fresh waterto 
drink, according to a study 
financed by the World 
Wildlife Fund. 

The research concluded 



that most of the 40 human 
deaths caused by tigers 
each year in the Sunder- 
bans — a 1 ,300-square- 
kilometer area along the Bay 
of Bengal — could be pre- 
vented if the tigers had more 
fresh water. Forced to get by 
with salty water, the felines 
undergo a chemical imbal- 
ance that can be corrected 
by eating humans, who con- 
stitute high-quality food, 
Hubert Hendrichs, the Ger- 
man scientist who authored 
the study, reported. 

The victims are usually 
honey collectors, fishermen, 
or woodcutters who frequent 
the mangrove swamps that 
cover most of the Sunder- 
bans. The latest tiger popu- 
lation in the Sunderbans is 
estimated at 430. 

In an attempt to end the 
human carnage, the govern- 
ment of India plans to build 
giant troughs in the region 
and to fill them with fresh 
water for the tigers. — S.D. 




What do you serve a thirsty tiger? 
Anything he wants. 




caruTiruuurm 






MIRAGE 

A "high latitude" mirage 
that makes distant lands vis- 
ible may explain how Norse 
seamen discovered North 
America around a.d. 1000. 
The high latitude, or Arctic, 
mirage differs from other 
mirages in that it reflects 
something that actually 
exists, in this case a real 
landscape that lies 6e/ow, or 
beyond, the horizon. 

Two University of Manitoba 
(Canada) scientists, Wai- 
demar H. Lehn and H. 
Leonard Sawatzky, specu- 
late that the mirages allowed 
explorers to "see" between 
distant landfalls in the North 
Atlantic. Lehn has calcula- 
tions showing that the feat is 
theoretically possible. 

An Arctic mirage is 
caused by a temperature in- 
version created when the air 
immediately above the 
earth's surface is colder 
than air at higher elevations. 



Under these conditions, light 
rays are bent around the 
curvature of the earth. The 
stronger the inversion, the 
more bending. With a high 
degree of bending, the 
earth's surface looks like a 
saucer, and landscapes and 
ships normally out of sight 
below the horizon are raised 
into view on the saucer's rim. 
The effect can last for days 
and cover thousands of 
kilometers. 

Lehn and Sawatzky spec- 
ulate that an Arctic mirage al- 
lowed Eric the Red to see 
Greenland from his home 
in Iceland and emboldened 
him to make the 300-kilo- 
meter voyage despite con- 
trary winds and currents. 

There is at least one re- 
cent report of this mirage. In 
1939 a sea captain saw a 
mountain in Iceland from 
500 kilometers away. An Arc- 
tic mirage is the best expla- 
nation for the sighting. 

— Barbara Ford 




Photos are identical except that in photo at left the lake is frozen and 
the air higher up is warm, causing wall-like mirage above horizon. 

38 OMNI 



THE WORST OF 
ASBESTOS 

Add asbestos to the list of 
miracle products with a dark 
side. Asbestos has been 



exposed to asbestos fibers 
while constructing ships dur- 
ing World War II. Research- 
ers say that as littie as one 
day's exposure has been 
found to cause cancer three 




Warren Beatty (shown with Julie Christie) turned the hair dryer into a 
phallic symbol in Shampoo. Now it's a potential health hazard. 



used widely as a fi reproofing, 
heat-resisting, and noise- 
controlling materia! in 
ceilings, brake linings, iron- 
ing boards, insulation, ce- 
ment, and furnace-patching 
compounds. Now the miner- 
al's fibers are being linked to 
lung cancer. 

The U.S. Consumer Prod- 
uct Safety Commission has 
asked for the voluntary recall 
of millions of hairdryers, 
which may be blowing as- 
bestos fibers into the faces 
of their users. Authorities are 
still trying to gauge the 
health effects of asbestos 
flaking off from school ceil- 
ings, for which it was used 
extensively until the early 
1970s. 

Moreover, several million 
naval-shipyard workers were 



decades later. Asbestos has 
also been found in the drink- 
ing water of Atlanta, Boston, 
Philadelphia, San Francisco, 
and Seattle. 

Compared with other can- 
cer risks that people face 
daily—from cigarette smok- 
ing to eating food addi- 
tives—asbestos exposure is 
not considered particularly 
deadly. But scientists believe 
that it is another of the mate- 
rials that is contributing to 
the rising rate of cancer, 
which claims 1,000 lives 
each day in the United 
States.— S.D. 

"Our time is a time for 
crossing barriers, for erasing 
old categories —for probing 
around." 

—Marshall McLuhan 



SOLID HYDROGEN 

Scientists have taken a 
major step toward turning 
hydrogen into a metal, which 
they think could become a 




Liquid hydrogen: Pressure 
can turn it into a solid. 

superconductor, leading to 
far more compact and effi- 
cient electric generators and 
transmission lines. Hydro- 
gen is the main stuff of the 
universe and is contained in 
the sun, water, and the 
human body 

By creating tremendous 
pressures with diamond- 
anvil cells, two scientists of 
the Carnegie Institute's 
Geophysical Laboratory, 
Drs. Peter M. Bell and Ho- 
kwang Mao, developed a 
new form of solid hydrogen 
that they believe brings them 
closer to making metallic 
hydrogen. Soon, they hope, 
they may demonstrate that 
metallic hydrogen might be 
made at room temperature. 

Beginning with liquid hy- 
drogen, the experimenters 



increased pressure until the 
liquid was converted into a 
dense crystalline solid at 
room temperature. More 
pressure increased the 
density. 

The solid form of high- 
density hydrogen could 
make an efficient, nonpollut- 
ing fuel for nuclear-fusion 
reactors or could become a 
rocket fuel, aircraft fuel, or 
explosive, says the National 
Science Foundation, which 
recently released the Car- 
negie research. — A.B. 

SOLAR ECONOMICS 

A solar-collector system 
can supply twice as much 
heat in New York City as in 
Rochester, New York, ap- 
proximately 420 kilometers 
away. Billings, Montana, gets 
as much solar energy as St. 
Louis, Missouri, whose 
latitude is about 800 
kilometers to the south. 

How far south you live is 
not necessarily the key indi- 
cator of how successful a 
solar-collector system in your 
area will be, according to the 
National Oceanic and Atmo- 
spheric Administration 
fNOAA). Cloud cover, al- 
titude, and air pollution also 
affect the amount of solar 
energy that a building re- 
ceives. 

NOAA's Air Resources 
Laboratories in Silver Spring, 
Maryland, has published a 
booklet showing the relative 
solar-heating value for 
localities throughout the 
United States. The report 
assigned the regions around 
Lake Ontario and in central 
Washington State a heating 
value of 1 , the lowest. Key 
West, Florida, was rated 



highest, with a 60, but most 
of the country is rated be- 
tween 2 and 4. 

The report, of course, as- 
sumes that there is an identi- 
cal efficiency for ail so- 
lar collectors. To compare 
various systems and to ob- 
tain general information on 
solar energy, you can call the 
National Solar Heating and 
Cooling Information Center 
in Philadelphia, toil-free, 
800-523-2929. Or write the 
center at Box 1607, 
Rockville, Md. 
20850.— S.Q 

SAY CHEESE! 

At this very moment the 
U.S. government may betak- 
ing a picture of your house. 
And for a reasonable fee you 
may be able to buy one of 
these pictures. 

NASA and the U.S. 
Geological Survey (USGS) 
are capable of photograph- 
ing our country (and others) 



from the air and even from 
outer space. NASA and 
USGS research and aerial- 
mapping aircraft provide a 
bird's-eye view of our world 
from 610 to 19,716 meters 
overhead. Landsat satellites 
provide even loftier pictures 
from 920 kilometers up. 
Skyiab, which orbited much 
lower, has also contributed to 
the government's photo 
album of the earth. 

All of these photographs 
are available to the public. 
Black-and-white prints, some 
color slides, and even infra- 
red images can be had for 
prices ranging from $1 to $50. 

To order photos, write to: 
User Services, EROS Data 
Center, Sioux Falls, S. Dak. 
57198. You'll be sent a pack- 
et of information and an 
order form. If you want a 
specific area — such as your 
old neighborhood in the 
Bronx — indicate it on a road 
map or give latitude and 
longitude coordinates. 



SNS&at* . : ' :> ^ w 








:,■:»' 




EROS has a full library of photographs —all for sale—taken from 
high-altitude planes and spacecraft. Above: the San Francisco area . 




CDRJTiruuunn 



UFO TIPS 

Nine percent of adult 
Americans have seen an un- 
identified flying object 
(UFO), according to a recent 
Gallup poll. This means 
there have been about 13 
million UFO sightings. Unfor- 
tunately, many witnesses 
who report sightings provide 
inadequate information. 

There's always the chance 
that you will be the one con- 
fronted with that once-in- 
a-lifetime UFO sighting. 
Here's what to look for to 
make your UFO report a sig- 
nificant one: 

« Note the precise time of 
day and how long the UFO 
stayed in sight. 

• "Measure" the object's 
size, but avoid descriptions 
such as "big as a house." In- 
stead, estimate size in de- 
grees. Compare the UFO to 
the size of the moon (half a 
degree), the width of your 
thumb held at arm's length 
(one and a half degrees), or 
the width of an outstretched 
fist {ten degrees). 

• Describe its position in the 
sky. Don't say it "hovered 200 
feet away," as distance is 
very hard to judge. Estimate 
its altitude in degrees above 
the horizon. Again, you can 
do this by using fist or thumb 
widths. If you can also supply 
compass directions, all the 
better. 

• Note specific details: 
shape, color, or changes in 
shape or color. 

• Most important, get other 
witnesses to write down their 
observations as soon as 
possible after the sighting. J. 
Allen Hynek, astronomer and 
director of the Center for 
UFO Studies, says 

40 OMN! 



multiple-witness cases are 
far more valuable to UFO re- 
searchers than single ones. 

There's a good chance 
your UFO will turn out to be a 
natural phenomenon 




J. Alien Hynek stresses need for 
additional witnesses. 

(meteor, aurora, cloud) or a 
man-made device (airplane, 
weather balloon, satellite). 
But if you see something 
truly baffling, report it to one 
of the major private UFO re- 
search groups. (Government 
agencies may accept your 
report, but nothing will be 
done with it. ) Each of the fol- 
lowing groups will respect 
your privacy, if you wish, and 
you can be sure the report 
will be examined by an ex- 
perienced investigator: Cen- 
ter for UFO Studies, 1609 
Sherman Avenue, Evanston, 
III. 60201; Aerial Phenomena 
Research Organization , 
3910 East Kleindale Road, 
Tucson, Ariz. 85712; Mutual 
UFO Network, 103 Oldtowne 
Road, Seguin, Texas 78155. 
— Terrence Dickinson 



LOW-CAL SEX 

Indoor sportsmen who 
think they are keeping in 
shape by doing their work- 
outs in bed are in for a rude 
awakening: Mother Nature is 
the original energy conser- 
vationist. No matter how en- 
thusiastic or athletic your 
sexua! activities, your body 
converts calories to energy 
at the stingy rate of 4.5 
calories per minute— or 270 
calories per hour. 

Researchers at Case 
Western Reserve University 
School of Medicine discov- 
ered this fact while conduct- 
ing studies on postcoronary 
patients who wore continu- 
ously monitoring electro- 
cardiogram devices. The 
original purpose of the study 
was to discover how stressful 
sexual activity is on the heart 
of the postcoronary patient. 
The findings: Sex was less 
stressful than many people's 
jobs. Heartbeats of 1: 



minute were recorded during 
occupational or professional 
activity in contrast to an av- 
erage of 1 1 7.4 beats per 
minute during coitus. 

Thus, while your chances 
of suffering a fatal coronary 
during sex are "virtually 
nonexistent," according to 
Dr. V. K. Tallury, a New York 
cardiologist, sex won't make 
you thin, either. It would take 
the sexual athlete about 13 
hours to lose a pound as 
compared to 7.5 hours for a 
tennis player. And if it took 
two martinis to get you 
into the mood, you might 
find your workouts rather 
fattening. 

Varying positions also 
seems to have little effect on 
caloric intake. In fact, Dr. Tal- 
lury deflated the concept of 
sex as athletics by pointing 
out that "sex is about as 
strenuous as walking up a 
flight or two of stairs— or 
walking briskly for one or two 

)cks."— Sherry Romeo 




Bob, Carol, Ted, and Alice may have had a good time, but doctors 
warn thai, calorie-wise, they'd have been better off playing tennis. 



EATING WATCHES 

If you ate your luminous- 
dial watch, you'd get a dose 
of radiation equal to about 
25 X rays. Luminous dials 



standing in New York City's 
Grand Central Terminal for a 
year, because of the radioac- 
tivity in the train depot's 
granite structure.) 
With characteristic under- 




You'd get as much radiation by spending a year in New York's Grand 
Central Terminal as you would by eating a luminous-dial watch. 



contain small amounts of 
radioactive tritium, radium, 
or promethium paint. U.S. 
government researchers re- 
cently conducted tests to 
determine the possible 
health dangers posed by the 
materials. 

The average American 
can expect to get about 
100-200 millirems of radia- 
tion per year from natural 
sources, such as the sun 
and rocks. And under nor- 
mal circumstances luminous 
watches give off only 0.3 to 2 
millirems per year. 

But if you were to eat a 
watch, you could get as 
much as 500 millirems in 
your gastrointestinal tract, 
according to government 
figures. (Oddly enough, 
you'd get just as much from 



statement, researchers at 
Oak Ridge National Labora- 
tory, which made the study, 
said the likelihood of such 
high exposures from swal- 
lowing watches "is very low 
.and near zero in most 
cases." — S. D. 

LEGIONNAIRES' 
DISEASE 

The seemingly innocuous 
germ that causes Legion- 
naires' disease has been 
found, but the real cause of 
the mysterious malady is 
deeper and even more in- 
nocuous: air conditioners 
. . . and the American Way of 
Life. 

At a symposium held re- 
cently at the Center for Dis- 
ease Control in Atlanta, 



Georgia, Dr. Jay P. Sanford 
reported that the microbe 
finds its way from the ground 
into the evaporation pans 
and filters of big air con- 
ditioners. With the right tem- 
perature and humidity, the 
bacillus multiplies and is 
spread throughout the air- 
conditioned building. 

Legionella hemophilus in- 
fects only 2 percent of those 
exposed to it, but it wouldn't 
have even that high an at- 
tack rate if it weren't for the 
very life-style of Americans, 
claims Dr. Sanford, who is 
dean of the School of 
Medicine of the Uniformed 
Services University of the 
Health Sciences in Bethes- 
da, Maryland. He says the 
disease may be contracted 
only by someone whose res- 
piratory system has been 
polluted by such things as 
smoking or drinking. 

At least 18 separate out- 
breaks of Legionnaires' dis- 
ease have been reported 






jWKUKWYBM 
WIBHSME 

OPEN 



Famous Philadelphia hotel was 
also victim of the disease. 



since 1965, involving 677 
people and 99 deaths. All 
but four of the outbreaks 
have been in the United 
States.— J.D. 

NEWS ON BEER 
AND POT 

A Maryland scientist's 
search for a more effective 
cholera vaccine has turned 
up good news for beer 
drinkers. For pot smokers 
there's good news and bad. 

Heavy beer drinking 
produces high levefs of 
stomach acid, according to 
David Nalin, of the University 
of Maryland's Center for 
Vaccine Development. 
These acids kill bacteria and 
protect beer drinkers from 
diarrhea. 

Marijuana, on the other 
hand, lowers stomach-acid 
levels. This may protect pot 
smokers from peptic ulcers, 
but it also makes them more 
prone to cholera and other 
diarrhea-causing diseases. 
In other words, Nalin sug- 
gests, if you drink the water 
south of the border you may 
be safer quaffing Dos Equis 
afterward than smoking 
AcapulcoGold. 

Nalin's research team 
hopes to test these impli- 
cations soon. The stakes are 
higher than just finding a 
cure for Montezuma's Re- 
venge: Nonchoieraic diar- 
rhea is the number-one killer 
of infants outside the U.S. 

Eventually, Nalin says, he 
would like to examine 
stomach-acid levels of re- 
turning Mexican tourists. 
Right now he is on a two-year 
research program in Paki- 
stan, testing the stomachs of 
heavy hashish smokers. 



coruTiruuunn 



IMPRINTING TURTLES 

Since the late 1940s the 
number of ridley sea turtles 
has dwindled from an esti- 
mated 40,000 to fewer than 




Ridley sea turtle: Catching its 
eggs in plastic bags. 
20,000. The problem: The 
species' only known nesting 
place in Rancho Nuevc, 
Mexico, is an open hunting 
ground for predators, includ- 
ing humans, some of whom 
prize the eggs as aph- 
rodisiacs. 

In a unique experiment to 
save the turtle— Lepido- 
chelys kempii— from ex- 
tinction, American and 
Mexican scientists are at- 
tempting to recondition the 
reptiles to shift their age-old 
nesting place to a protected 
site in South Padre Island 
National Seashore, in Texas. 
The process is called im- 
printing. 

Dr. Joseph Sylvester, Na- 
tional Marine and Fisheries' 
southeast division "turtle 
man," explains that the rid- 

42 OMNI 



leys, which are found along 
the Gulf Coast, may be 
drawn back to Rancho 
Nuevo by sensory informa- 
tion acquired when they 
hatch. 

At egg-laying time, 
biologists held plastic bags 
under the females to catch 
the eggs before they could 
drop into the sand. Haif the 
eggs were then flown to 
South Padre Island, where 
they were incubated in the 
sand. 

As a control, the other half 
were placed in Rancho 
Nuevo sand. After the eggs 
hatched, the young turtles 
were flown to Galveston, 
Texas, so that their develop- 
ment could be carefully mon- 
itored. In February and May 
groups of the turtles, tagged 
for identification, were re- 
leased from beaches in 
Florida. 

The biologists plan to re- 
peat the procedure, but they 
are cautious. "We hope they 
will imprint," says Dr. Sylves- 
ter, but he added that suc- 
cess will not be known for 
"five to six years." 

—Joseph A. Gambardello 

BRAIN POLLUTION 

Bad air can affect the 
brain as well as the body, 
sometimes for the better, re- 
ports a team of scientists 
from St. Louis, Missouri. 
Carbon monoxide (CO) and 
nitrogen dioxide (N0 2 ) may 
promote alcoholism, for 
example, while the pollutant 
nitrogen oxide (NO), a 
known anesthetic, appears 
to make people feel better. 

After comparing a 
meticulous 149-day record of 
air pollution with admissions 



to Malcolm Bliss Mental 
Health Center, a psychiatric 
hospital in St. Louis, re- 
searchers found that on cer- 
tain high-pollution days psy- 
chiatric admissions either 
climbed or dropped, de- 
pending on what pollutant 
predominated. 

On days when the St. 
Louis atmosphere was rich 
in carbon monoxide and ni- 
trogen dioxide, the number 
of patients admitted for al- 
coholism and organic brain 
disorders increased notice- 
ably according to Drs. Meir 
and Aharona Strahiievitz and 
researcher John E. Miller. 

The opposite was true on 
days when there was a high 
level of nitrogen oxide, a 
form of which is nitrous 
oxide, or laughing gas, often 
used by dentists for relaxing 
their patients. 

"The study sprang from 



my interest in bioiogical and 
environmental factors and 
their effects on psychiatric 
illness," Dr. Meir Strahiievitz 
told Omni. In St. Louis he 
had the nearly ideal condi- 
tions to explore this interest. 
"We had this large psychiat- 
ric hospital and an air- 
pollution-control center on 
the next block," he explained. 

The team's findings indi- 
cate that people suffering 
from alcoholism and organic 
brain problems may be par- 
ticularly sensitive to some 
yet-undiscovered disturbing 
effect of N0 2 and CO. It may 
also be that the pollutant NO 
cancels out some of the up- 
setting effects of the two 
other gases. The St. Louis 
report even recommends 
checking out nitrogen oxide 
as a treatment for alcoholism 
and organic brain problems. 
— Douglas Colligan 




Larry Mauro, 40, lifts off in the first-ever solar-powered manned flight, 
at Flabob Airport, near Riverside, California. Solar celts on the wings 
were charged for one and a half hours. The electricity was stored in 
batteries, then released in this first flight, which lasted about 1.5 
minutes. Mauro reached a maximum altitude of 12 meters. 






wHEDtoMRft- 



GR£€N moi- 

)/d ancient astronauts visit the Dogon? 
BY CARL SAGAN 

LI 

I lumanity has -already 
achieved interstellar spaceflight. With a gravitational 
assist from the planet Jupiter, the Pioneer 10 and 1 1 and 
the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft have been boosted into 
trajectories that wilt leave the solar system for the realm 
of the stars. They are very slow-moving spacecraft, 




z-r.z te the fact that they are the fastest 
X e;"3 ever launched by our species. 
Ihe> m\\ take tens of thousands of years to 
~=.e typical interstellar distances. 

_ness some special effort is made to 
~e~ 'act them, they will never enter another 
z sreiary system in all the tens of billions of 
years of future history of the Milky Way 
galaxy. The star-to-star distances are too 
large- They are doomed to wander forever 
■i the dark between the stars. But even so, 
:~ese spacecraft have messages attached 
:c :hem for the remote contingency that at 
some future time alien beings might inter- 
;=cr the spacecraft and wonder about the 
"eings who launched them on these pro- 
z gious journeys. 

If we are capable of such constructions 
a: our comparatively backward technolog- 
ical state, might not a civilization thousands 
z' millions of years more advanced than 
ours, on a planet of another star, be capa- 
c e of fast and directed interstellar travel? 
Interstellar spaceflight is time-consuming, 
difficult, and expensive for us, and perhaps 
also for other civilizations with substantially 
greater resources than ours. But it surely 
would be unwise to contend that concep- 
tually novel approaches to the physics or 
engineering of interstellar spaceflight will 
not be discovered by us sometime in the 
future, reducing cost and travel time. 

It is evident that for economy efficiency 
and convenience, in- 
terstellar radio trans- 
mission is much su- 
perior to interstellar 
spaceflight, and this 
is the reason why our 
own efforts have con- 
centrated strongly on 
radio communication. 
But radio communica- 
tion is clearly inap- 
propriate for contact 
with a pre technologi- 
cal society or spe- 
cies. No matter how 
clever or powerful the 
transmission, no such 
radio message would 
have been received or 
understood on Earth 
before the present 
century. And there 
has been life on our 
pianet for about 4 bil- 
lion years, human be- 



&A kind of Galactic Survey 

may keep an eye on 

emerging worlds and seek 

out new planets.^ 

ings for several million, and civilization for 
perhaps 10,000. 

It is not inconceivable that there is a kind 
of Galactic Survey, established by cooper- 
ating civilizations on many planets 
throughout the Milky Way galaxy, which 
keeps an eye (or some equivalent organ) 
on emerging planets and seeks out undis- 
covered worlds. But the solar system is very 
far from the center of the galaxy and could 
well have eluded such searches. Or survey 
ships may come here, but only every 10 
million years, say — with none having ar- 
rived during historic time. However, it is also 
possible that a few survey teams have ar- 
rived recently enough in human history for 
their presence to have been noted by our 
ancestors, or even for human history to 
have been affected by the contact. 

The Soviet astrophysicist I, S. Shklovskii 
and I discussed this possibility in our book, 
Intelligent Life in the Universe, in 1966. We 
examined a range of artifacts, legends, 
and folklore from many cultures and con- 
cluded that not one of these cases pro- 
vided even moderately convincing evi- 
dence of extraterrestrial contact. There are 
always more plausible alternative explana- 
tions for the evidence that are based on 
known human abilities and behavior. 

Among the cases discussed were a 
number later accepted by Erich von Dani- 
ken and other uncritical writers as valid 




Art of the Dogon (left j and heroic drawings of Nazca, Peru: Are they proof of alien visits? 



evidence of extraterrestrial contact: Su- 
merian legends and astronomical cylinder 
seals; the Biblical stories of the Slavonic 
Enoch and of Sodom and Gomorrah; the 
Tassili frescoes in North Africa; the ma- 
chined metal cube allegedly found in an- 
cient geological sediments and said to be 
displayed in a museum in Austria; and so 
on. Over the years I have continued to look 
as deeply as I am able into such stories and 
have found very few that require more than 
passing attention. 

In the long litany of "ancient astronaut" 
pop archaeology, the cases of apparent 
interest have perfectly reasonable alterna- 
tive explanations, or have been mis- 
reported, or are simple prevarications, 
hoaxes, or distortions. This description 
applies to arguments about the Piri Reis 
map, the Easter Island monoliths, the 
heroic drawings on the plains of Nazca, 
and various artifacts from Mexico, Uz- 
bekistan, and China. 

Yet it would be so easy for emissaries 
of an advanced extraterrestrial civilization 
to leave a completely unambiguous calling 
card of their visit. For example, many nu- 
clear physicists believe that there is an "is- 
land of stability" of atomic nuclei, near a 
hypothetical superheavy atom with about 
114 protons and about 184 neutrons. All 
chemical elements heavier than uranium 
(with 238 protons and neutrons in its nu- 
cleus) spontaneously 
decay in cosmically 
short periods of time. 
But there is reason 
to think that the bind- 
ing between protons 
and neutrons is such 
that stable elements 
would be produced if 
nuclei having about 
114 protons and 184 
neutrons could be 
constructed. Such a 
construction is just 
beyond our present 
technology and clear- 
ly beyond the tech- 
nology of our ances- 
tors. A metal artifact 
containing such ele- 
ments would be un- 
ambiguous evidence 
of visitation by some 
advanced extrater- 
restrial civilization in 

47 



^||^gjj^ -»* 



the dimmest reaches of our past 

Or consider the element technetium 
whose most stable form has 99 protons and 
neutrons. Half of it radioactively decays to 
other elements in about 200,000 years, half 
of the remainder is gone in another 200,000 
years, and so on. As a result, any tech- 
netium formed by stars with the other ele- 
ments billions of years ago must all be gone 
by now. Thus, terrestrial technetium can 
only be of artificial origin, as its very name 
indicates. A technetium artifact could have 
only one meaning 

Similarly, there are common elements on 
Earth that are immiscible; for example, 
aluminum and lead. If you melt them to- 
gether, the lead, being considerably 
heavier, sinkslothe bottom. The aluminum 
floats to the top. However, in the zero-g 
conditions of spaceflight there is no gravity 
in the melt to pull the heavier lead down, 
and exotic alloys, such as Al/Pb, can be 
produced. One of the objectives of NASA's 
early shuttle missions will be to test out 
such alloying techniques. Any message 
written on an aluminum /lead alloy and re- 
trieved from an ancient civilization would 
certainly attract our attention today. 

t is also possible that the content rather 
than the material of the message would 
clearly point to a science or technology 
beyond the abilities of our ancestors: for 
example, a vector calculus rendition of- 
Maxwell's equations (with or without mag- 
netic monopoles), or a graphical repre- 
sentation of the Planck black-bbdy dis- 
tribution for several different temperatures, 
or a derivation of the Lorentz transformation 
of special relativity. Even if the ancients 
could not understand such writings, they 
might revere them as holy. 

But no cases of this sort have emerged, 
despite what is clearly a profitable market 
for tales of ancient or modern extraterres- 
trial astronauts. There have been debates 
on the purity of magnesium samples from 
purported crashed UFOs, but their purity 
was within the competence of American 
technology at the time of the incident. A 
supposed star map said to be retrieved 
(from memory) from the interior of a flying 
saucer does not, as alleged, resemble the 
relative positions of the nearest stars like 
the sun; in fact, a close examination shows 
it to be not much better than the "star map" 
that would be produced if you took an old- 
fashioned quill pen and splattered a few 
blank pages with ink spots. 

With one apparent exception, there are 
no stories sufficiently detailed to dispose of 
other explanations and sufficiently accu- 
rate to portray correctly modern physics or 
astronomy to a prescientific or pretechnical 
people. The one exception is the remark- 
able mythology surrounding the star Sirius 
that is held by the Dogon people of the 
Republic of Mali, in West Africa, 

There are at most a few hundred 
thousand Dogon alive today, and they 
have been studied intensively by an- 
thropologists only since the 1930s. There 
are some elements of their mythology that 



are reminiscent of the legends of the an- 
cient Egyptian civilization, and some an- 
thropologists have assumed a weak Dogon 
cultural connection with ancient Egypt. The 
heliacal risings of Sirius, central to the 
Egyptian calendar, were used to predictthe 
inundations of the Nile 

The most striking aspects of Dogon as- 
tronomy have been recounted by Marcel 
Griaule, a French anthropologist working in 
the 1930s and 1940s. While there is no rea- 
son to doubt Griaule's account, it is impor- 
tant to note that there is no earlier Western 
record of these remarkable Dogon folk be- 
liefs and that all the information has been 
tunneled through Griaule. The slory has 
recently been popularized by a British 
writer, Fi.K.G. Temple. 

In contrast to almost all prescientific 
societies, the Dogon hold that the planets 
as well as the earth rptate about their axes 
and revolve around the sun. This is a con- 
clusion that can, of course, be achieved 
without high technology, as Copernicus 



6 They have knowledge that 

cannot be had save 

with a large telescope. 

Thus they had contact 

with an advanced technical 

civilization. But 

which one — European or 

extraterrestrial?^ 



demonstrated, but it is a very rare insight 
among the peoples of the earth. It was 
taught, however, in ancient Greece by 
Pythagoras and by Philblaus, who perhaps 
held, in Laplace's words, "that the planets 
were inhabited and the stars were suns, 
disseminated in space, being themselves 
centers of planetary systems." Such teach- 
ings, among a wide variety of contradictory 
ideas, might be just an inspired guess. 

The ancient Greeks believed there were 
only four elements— earth, fire, water, and 
air — from which all else was constructed. 
Among the pre-Socratic philosophers there 
were those who made special advocacy for 
each one of these elements. If it had later 
turned out that the universe was indeed 
made more of one of these elements than of 
another, we should not attribute remarkable 
prescience to the pre-Socratic philosopher 
who made the proposal. One of them was 
bbund to be right on statistical grounds 
alone. In the same way, if we have several 
hundred or several thousand cultures, 
each with its own cosmology, we should not 
be astounded if, every now and then, 
purely by chance, one of them proposes an 
idea that is not only correct but also impos- 



sible for them to have deduced. 

But, according to Temple, the Dogon go 
further. They hold that Jupiter has four satel- 
lites and that Saturn is encircled by a ring. It 
is perhaps possible that individuals of ex- 
traordinary eyesight under superb seeing 
conditions could, in the absence of a tele- 
scope, have observed the Galilean satel- 
lites of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn. But 
this is at the bare edge of plausibility. Unlike 
every astronomer before Kepler, the Dogon 
are said to depict the planets moving cor- 
rectly in elliptical, not circular, orbits. 

More striking still is the Dogon belief 
about Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. 
They contend that it has a dark and invisi- 
ble companion star, which orbits Sirius 
(and, Temple says, in an elliptical orbit) 
once every 50 years. They state that the 
companion star is very small and very 
heavy, made of a special metal called 
sagala, which is not found on Earth. 

The remarkable fact is that the visible 
star, Sirius A, does have an extraordinary 
dark companion, Sirius B, which orbits it in 
an elliptical orbit once each 50,04±0.09 
years. Sirius B isthe first example of awhite 
dwarf star discovered by modern as- 
trophysics. Its matter is in a state called 
relativistioally degenerate, which does not 
exist on Earth, and since the electrons are 
not bound to the nuclei in such degenerate 
matter, it can properly be described as 
metallic. Since Sirius A is called' the Dog 
Star, Sirius B has been dubbed the Pup. 

At first glance, the Sirius legend of the 
Dogon seems to be the best candidate 
evidence available today for man's past 
contact with an advanced extraterrestrial 
civilization. As we begin a closer look at this 
story, however, let us remember that the 
Dogon astronomical tradition is purely oral, 
that it dates with certainty only from the 
1930s, and that the diagrams are written 
with sticks in sand. (Incidentally, there is 
some evidence that the Dogon like to frame 
pictures with an ellipse, and that Temple 
may be mistaken about the claim that in 
Dogon mythology the planets and Sirius B 
move in elliptical orbits.) 

When we examine the full bbdy of Dogon 
mythology, we find a very rich and detailed 
structure of legend— much richer, as many 
anthropologists have remarked, than those 
of their near geographical neighbors 
Where there is a rich array of legends there 
is, of course, a greater chance of an acci- 
dental correspondence of one of the myths 
with a finding of modern science. A very 
spare mythology is much less likely to 
make such an accidental concordance. 
But when we examine the rest of Dogon 
mythology, dd we find other cases haunt- 
ngly reminiscent of some unexpected find- 
ings in modern science? 

The Dogon cosmogony describes how 
the Creator examined a plaited basket, 
round at the mouth and square at the bot- 
tom. Such baskets are still in use in Mali 



: r =_. "he Creator upended the basket and 
jsec : as a model for the creation of the 

y z — the square base represents the sky 
ana :ne round mouth, the sun. I must say 
T&i this account does not strike me as a 
T~ = rkable anticipation of modern cos- 
~: :gical thinking. 

In the Dogon representation of the crea- 
Don of the earth, the Creator implants in an 
egg two pairs of twins, each pair com- 
prised of a male and a female. The twins 
are intended to mature within the egg and 
I fcise to become a single and "perfect" an- 
drogynous being. The earth originates 
when one of the twins breaks from the egg 
before maturation, whereupon the Creator 
sacrifices the other twin in order to maintain 
= certain cosmic harmony. This is a varie- 
gated and interesting mythology, but it 
does not seem to be qualitatively different 
;r om many of the other mythologies and 
'eligions of humanity. 

The hypothesis of a companion star to 
Sirius might have followed naturally from 
:ne Dogon mythology, in which twins play a 
central role, but there does not seem to be 
any explanation this simple about the 
period and density of the companion of 
Sirius. The Dogon Sirius myth is too close to 
modern astronomical thinking and too pre- 
cise quantitatively to be attributed to 
chance. Yet there it sits, immersed in a 
body of more or less standard prescientific 
iegend. What can the explanation be? Is 
there any chance that the Dogon or their 
cultural ancestors might actually have 
been able to see Sirius B and observe its 
period around Sirius A? 

White dwarfs, such as Sirius B, evolve 
from stars called red giants, which are very 
luminous and, it will be no surprise to hear, 
red. Ancient writers of the first few centuries 
of the Christian Era actually described 
Sirius as red — certainly not its color today. 
In a conversation piece by Horace called 
"Hoc Quoque, Tiresia" (How to Get Rich 
Quickly) there is a quotation from an earlier 
work that says, "The red dog star's heat 
split the speechless statues." 

As a result of these less than compelling 
ancient sources there has been a slight 
temptation among astrophysicists to con- 
sider the possibility that the white dwarf 
Sirius B was a red giant in historical times 
and visible to the naked eye, completely 
swamping the light of Sirius A. In that case 
perhaps there was a slightly later time in 
the evolution of Sirius B when its brightness 
was comparable to that of Sirius A, and the 
relative motion of the two stars about each 
other could be discerned with the eye. 

But the best recent information from the 
theory of stellar evolution suggests that 
there simply is not enough time for Sirius B 
to have reached its present white-dwarf 
state if it had been a red giant a few cen- 
turies before Horace. What is more, it would 
seem extraordinary that no one except the 
Dogon noticed these two stars circling 
each other every 50 years, each alone 
being one of the brightest stars in the sky 
There was an extremely competent school 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 116 




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FICTION 



SANDKINGS 



His interest piqued when told of the creatures' 
proficiency for warfare and worship 

BY GEORGE R. R, MARTIN 



^^imon Kress lived alone in a 
sprawling manor house among dry, rocky hills fifty kilometers 
from the city. So, when he was called away unexpectedly on 
business, he had no neighbors he could conveniently impose on 
to take his pets. The carrion hawk was no problem; it roosted in 
the unused belfry and customarily fed itself anyway. The sham- 
bler Kress simply shooed outside and left to fend for itself; the 
little monster would gorge on slugs and birds and rockjocks. But 
the fish tank, stocked with genuine earth piranha, posed a diffi- 
culty Finally Kress just threw a haunch of beef into the huge tank. 
The piranha could always eat one another if he were detained 
longer than expected. They'd done it before. It amused him. 

Unfortunately, he was detained much longer than expected 
this time. When he finally returned, all the fish were dead. So was 
the carrion hawk. The shambler had climbed up to the belfry and 
eaten it. Kress was vexed. 

The next day he flew his skimmer to Asgard, a journey of some 
two hundred kilometers. Asgard was Baldur's largest city and 
boasted the oldest and largest starport as well. Kress liked to 
impress his friends with animals that were unusual, entertaining, 
and expensive; Asgard was the place to buy them. 

This time, though, he had poor luck. Xenopets had closed its 
doors, t'Etherane the Petseller tried to foist another carrion hawk 
off on him, and Strange Waters offered nothing more exotic than 
piranha, glowsharks, and spider squids. Kress had had all those; 

PAINTING BY ERNST FUCHS 




he wanted something new, something that 
would stand out- 
Near dusk he found himself walking 
down Rainbow Boulevard, looking for 
places he had not patronized before. So 
close to the starport, the street was lined by 
importers' marts. The big corporate em- 
poriums had Impressive long windows, in 
which rare and costly alien artifacts re- 
posed on felt cushions against dark drapes 
that made the interiors of the stores a mys- 
tery. Between them were the junk shops — 
narrow, nasty little places whose display 
areas were crammed with all manner of 
offworld bric-a-brac. Kress tried both kinds 
of shops, with equal dissatisfaction. 

Then he came across a store that was 
different. 

Itwasvery nearthe port. Kress had never 
been there before. The shop occupied a 
small, single-story building of moderate 
size, set between a euphoria bar and a 
temple brothel of the Secret Sisterhood. 
Down this far, Rainbow Boulevard grew 
tacky. The shop itself was unusual. Arrest- 
ng. 

The windows were full of mist— now a 
pale red, now the gray of true fog, now 
sparkling and golden. The mist swirled and 
eddied and glowed faintly from within. 
Kress glimpsed objects in the window — 
machines, pieces of art, other things he 
could not recognize— but he could not get 
a good look at any of them. The mists 
flowed sensueusly around them, display- 
ing a bit of first one thing and then another, 
then cloaking all. It was intriguing. 

As he watched, the mist began to form 
letters. One word at atime. Kress stood and 
read. 

WO. AND. SHADE. IMPORTERS. ARTIFACTS. ART. 
LIFEFORMS. AND. MISC. 

The letters stepped. Through the fog 
Kress saw something moving. That was 
enough for him, that and the lifeforms in 
their advertisement. He swept his walking 
cloak over his shoulder and entered the 
store 

Inside, Kress felt disoriented. The interior 
seemed vast, much larger than he would 
have guessed from the relatively modest 
frontage. It was dimly lit, peaceful. The ceil- 
ing was a starscape, complete with spiral 
nebulas, very dark and realistic, very nice. 
All the counters shone faintly, to better dis- 
play the merchandise within. The aisles 
were carpeted with ground fog. It came 
almost to his knees in places and swirled 
about his feet as he walked. 

"Can I help you?" 

She almost seemed to have risen from 
the fog. Tall and gaunt and pale, she wore a 
practical gray jumpsuit and a strange little 
cap that rested well back on her head. 

"Are yeu Wo or Shade?" Kress asked. "Or 
only sales help?" 

"Jala Wo, ready to serve you," she re- 
plied. "Shade does not see customers. We 
have no sales help." 

"You have quite a large establishment," 
Kress said. "Odd that I have never heard of 
you before." 



"We have only just opened this shop on 
BaldurT the woman said. "We have fran- 
chises on a number of other worlds, how- 
ever. What can I sell you? Art, perhaps? You 
have the look of a collector. We have some 
fine Nor T'alush crystal carvings." 

"No," Kress said. "I own all the crystal 
carvings I desire. I came to see about a 
pet." 

"A lifeform?" 

"Yes." 

"Alien?" 

"Of course." 

"We have a mimic in stock. From Celia's 
World. A clever little simian. Not only will it 
learn to speak, but eventually it will mimic 
your voice, inflections, gestures, even fa- 
cial expressions." 

"Cute," said Kress. "And common. I have 
no use for either, Wo. I want something exot- 
ic. Unusual. And not cute. I detest cute 
animals. At the moment I own a shambler. 
Imported from Cotho, at no mean expense. 
From time to time I feed him a litter of un- 



iThe black castle 
was the first completed, 

followed by the 
white and red fortresses. 

Kress . . . sat 
on the couch, so he could 

watch. He expected 
. . war to break out . . . now. T> 



wanted kittens. That is what I think df cute. 
Do I make myself understood?" 

Wo smiled enigmatically. "Have you ever 
owned an animal that worshiped you?" she 
asked 

Kress grinned. "Oh, now and again. But I 
ddn't require worship, Wo. Just entertain- 
ment." 

"You misunderstand me," Wo said, still 
wearing her strange smile. "I meant wor- 
ship literally." 

"What are you talking about?" 

"I think I have just the thing for you," Wo 
said. "Follow me." 

She led him between the radiant count- 
ers and down a long, fog-shrouded aisle 
beneath false starlight. They passed 
through awall of mist into anothersection of 
the store, then stopped in front of a large 
plastic tank. An aquarium, Kress thought. 

Wo beckoned. He stepped closer and 
saw that he was wrong. It was a terrarium. 
Within lay a miniature desert abdut two 
meters square. Pale sand tinted scarlet by 
wan red light. Rocks: basalt and quartz 
and granite. In each corner of the tank 
stood a castle. 

Kress blinked and peered and ccrrected 



himself; actually, there were only three cas- 
tles standing. The fourth leaned, a crum- 
bled, broken ruin. The three others were 
crude but intact, carved of stone and sand 
Over their battlements and through their 
rounded porticoes tiny creatures climbed 
and scrambled. Kress pressed his face 
against the plastic. "Insects?" he asked. 

"No," Wo replied. "A much more complex 
ifeform. More intelligent as well. Smarter 
than your shambler by a considerable 
amount. They are called sandkings." 

"Insects," Kress said, drawing back from 
the tank. "I don't care how complex they 
are." He frowned. 'And kindly don't try to 
gull me with this talk of intelligence. These 
things are far too small to have anything but 
the most rudimentary brains." 

"They share hiveminds," Wo said. "Cas- 
tle minds, in this case. There are only three 
organisms in the tank, actually. The fourth 
died. You see how her castle has fallen." 
Kress looked back at the tank. 
"Hiveminds, eh? Interesting." He frowned 
again. "Still, it is only an oversized ant farm. 
I'd hoped for something better." 
"They fight wars." 

"Wars? Hmmm." Kress looked again. 
"Note the colors, if you will," Wo said. She 
pointed to the creatures that swarmed over 
the nearest castle. One was scrabbling at 
the tank wall. Kress studied it. To his eyes, it 
still looked like an insect. Barely as long as 
his fingernail, six-limbed, with six tiny eyes 
set all around its body. A wicked set of 
mandibles clacked visibly, while two long, 
fine antennae wove patterns in the air. An- 
tennae, mandibles, eyes, and legs were 
sooty black, but the dominant color was the 
burnt orange of its armor plating. "It's an 
Insect," Kress repeated. 

"It is not an insect," Wo insisted calmly. 
"The armored exoskeleton is shed when 
the sandking grows larger. If it grows larger. 
In a tank this size, it won't." She took Kress 
by the elbow and led him around the tank to 
the next castle. "Look at the colors here." 
He did. They were different. Here. the 
sandkings had bright red armor; antennae, 
mandibles, eyes, and legs were yellow. 
Kress glanced across the tank. The deni- 
zens of the third live castle were off-white, 
with red trim. "Hmmm," he said. 

"They war, as I said," Wo told him. "They 
even have truces and alliances. It was an 
alliance that destroyed the fourth castle in 
this tank. The blacks were becoming too 
numerous, and so the others joined forces 
to destroy them." 

Kress remained unconvinced. "Amusing, 
no doubt. But insects fight wars, too." 
"Insects do not worship," Wo said. 
"Eh?" 

Wo smiled and pointed at the castle, 
Kress stared. A face had been carved into 
the wall of the highest tower. He recognized 
it. It was Jala Wo's face. "How . . . ?" 

"I projected a hologram of my face into 
the tank, then kept it there for a few days. 
The face of god, you see? I feed them. I am 
always close. The sandkings have a ru- 
dimentary psionic sense. Proximity telep- 



athy. They sense me and worship me by 
using my face to decorate their buildings. 
All the castles have them, see." They did. 

On the castle, the face of Jala Wo was 
serene, peaceful, and very lifelike. Kress 
marveled at the workmanship. "How do 
they do it?" 

"The foremost legs double as arms. They 
even have fingers of a sort, three small, 
flexible tendrils. And they cooperate well, 
both in building and in battle. Remember, 
all the mobiles of one color share a single 
mind." 

"Tell me more," Kress requested. 

Wo smiled. "The maw lives in the castle. 
Maw is my name for her — a pun, if you will. 
The thing is mother and stomach both. 
Female, large as your fist, immobile. Actu- 
ally sandking is a bit of a misnomer. The 
mobiles are peasants and warriors. The 
real ruler is a queen. But that analogy is 
faulty as well. Considered as a whole, each 
castle is a single hermaphroditic creature." 

"What do they eat?" 

"The mobiles eat pap, predigested food 
obtained inside the castle. They get it from 
the maw after she has worked on it for sev- 
eral days. Their stomachs can't handle any- 
thing else. If the maw dies, they soon die as 
well. The maw ... the maw eats anything. 
You'll have no special expense there. Table 
scraps will do excellently" 

"Live food?" Kress asked. 

Wo shrugged. "Each maw eats mobiles 
from the other castles, yes." 



"I am intrigued," he admitted. "If only 
they weren't so small!" 

"Yours can be larger. These sandkings 
are small because their tank is small. They 
seem to limit their growth to fit available 
space. If I moved these to a larger tank, 
they'd start growing again." 

"Hmmm, My piranha tank is twice this 
size and vacant. It could be cleaned out, 
filled with sand ..." 

"Wo and Shade would take care of the 
installation. It would be our pleasure." 

"Of course," Kress said, "I would expect 
four intact castles." 

"Certainly" Wo said. 

They began to haggle about the price. 

Three days later Jala Wo arrived at Simon 
Kress's estate, with dormant sandkings 

and a work crew to take charge of the in- 
stallation. Wo's assistants were aliens un- 
like any Kress was familiar with — squat, 
broad bipeds with four arms and bulging, 
multifaceted eyes. Their skin was thick and 
leathery and twisted into horns and spines 
and protrusions at odd places upon their 
bodies. But they were very strong, and 
good workers. Wo ordered them about in a 
musical tongue that Kress has never 
heard before. 

In a day it was done. They moved his 
piranha tank to the center of his spacious 
living room, arranged couches on either 
side of it for better viewing, scrubbed it 
clean, and filled it two thirds of the way up 



with sand and rock. Then they installed a 
special lighting system, both to provide the 
dim red illumination the sandkings pre- 
ferred and to project holographic images 
into the tank. On top they mounted a sturdy 
plastic cover, with a feeder mechanism 
built in. "This way you can feed your sand- 
kings without removing the top of the tank," 
Wo. explained. "You would nofwant to take 
any chances on the mobiles escaping." 

The cover also included climate-control 
devices, to condense just the right amount 
of moisture from the air. "You want it dry, but 
not too dry" Wo said. 

Finally one of the four-armed workers 
climbed into the tank and dug deep pits in 
the four corners. One of his companions 
handed the dormant maws over to him, re- 
moving them, one by one, from their frosted 
cryonic traveling cases. 

They were nothing to look at. Kress de- 
cided they resembled nothing so much as 
mottled, half-spoiled chunks of raw meat. 
Each with a mouth. 

The alien buried them, one in each 
corner of the tank. Then the work party 
sealed it all up and took their leave. 

"The heat will bring the maws out of dor- 
mancy," Wo said. "In less than a week 
mobiles will begin to hatch and burrow up 
to the surface. Be certain to give them 
plenty of food. They will need all their 
strength until they are well established. I 
would estimate that you will have castles 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 101 




WIZARDS 

OF SILICON 

VALLEY 

California's new 

' Gold Coast ' owes its 

remarkable legacy to a 

handful of visionaries 

BY GENE BYLINSKYAND 

ZHENYALANE 




\ 



\ 






Silicon Valley is not some barren 
lunar crater or black 
crevice in the ocean's depths. 
Rather it is a lush triangle 
of unusual real estate stretching 
30 miles to the south of San 
Francisco, along placid San 
Francisco Bay, to the Santa Cruz 
Mountains. In this verdant place 
where prune orchards and 
wildflowers blossom even in February, 
something else has burst into full 
bloom: 1 ,000 innovative science and 
high-technology companies flying 
flags like Hewlett-Packard, Intel, 
Syntex, Varian, Atari, Andros, and 
Zoecon. From the first seedlings of 
this new empire — planted barely a 
century ago — Silicon Valley has 
become the world's leading 
center for industrial innovation. 
Silicon Valley also mass-produces 
millionaires. Fortune magazine 
estimates that no fewer than 500 
high-technology millionaires live 
there, many of them still in their late 
twenties and early thirties. 
No comparable mecca of high tech 
exists anywhere else. The closest 
counterpart is Boston's Route 128, 
that golden crescent of high- 
technology firms hugging the outer 
reaches of Beantown. But Silicon 
Valley long ago surpassed Route 
128 in both the number of companies 
and the diversity of their products. 

Aerial view of Silicon Valiey highlights Palo 

Alto (middle lett) as the nerve center o! 

the world's most innovative technologies. 



'>jj^ 



■:■■■ -> 



£ Dramatic growth of industry 

in the area has caused 

employment to expand at seven 

times the national rate. 9 



Birthplace of electronic games and 
home computers, of those tiny comput- 
ers-on-a-chip known as microcomputers 
and of the world's most powerful super- 
computers, of cordless telephones and 
digital thermometers, of laser technology 
and computer memories, of food colors 
and additives ingeniously designed to be 
harmless to the body— Silicon Valley is all 
that with much more to come 

Surprises like an artificial heart that re- 
quires no potentially poisonous nuclear 
fuel, bacteria engineered to make human 
insulin, computers that understand human 
speech and taik back— all are under inten- 
sive development in Silicon Valley's spar- 
kling laboratories. 

In some ways Silicon Valley is like 
medieval Spain, a launohpad for great ex- 
peditions into new worlds. But no territory in 
the world's history has launched more far- 
reaching, heavily financed journeys to un- 
known places than this tiny valley at the 
edge of the Pacific. 

"The effect on Earth of Silicon Valley 
will be as dramatic over the next two 
centuries," says resident and computer 
manufacturer John Peers, "as the effect 
that [Dr, Louis Leakey's discoveries in] the 
Rift Valley will have on the evolution of 
man," 

The Santa Clara Valley— to give Silicon 
Valley its proper name — is located on San 
Francisco Peninsula. It extends as far 
south as San Jose, the newest California 
metropolis, which to the surprise of many 
non-westerners is already bigger than 
Pittsburgh or Minneapolis. At the northern 
tip of the peninsula are all the attractions of 
that jewel of cities, San Francisco, and 
across the scenic bay are the distant lights 
of Berkeley and Oakland 

TRACKS OF THE FLY 



No description of Silicon Valley would be 
complete, however, without mentioning 
Palo Alto, cradle of the first budding 
technologies in the area. Palo Alto is split 
right down the middle by El Camino Real, 
the broad highway that runs much of the 
length of California. Stanford University 
and Stanford Industrial Park, along with 
such various other citadels of science and 
technology as the Stanford Linear Ac- 
celerator and Linus Pauling's Institute of 
Science and Medicine, lie to the west of El 
Camino. 

To the east is the city of Palo Alto itself. 




William Hewlett: An empire begun in a garage 

And it was right here, as you can read on a 
plaque outside a white clapboard house at 
913 Emerson Street, that the marching 
tramp of a common housefly ushered in the 
electronic age and paved the way for the 
wizards of Silicon Valley. 

It was a dramatic moment on that 
memorable day in 1912 when a group of 
excited young men leaned over a table to 
watch a housefly saunter across a sheet of 
drawing paper. The fly's footsteps were 
amplified by a vacuum tube, making them 
sound like the steps of a marching soldier. 
This was the first application of the vacuum 
tube as a sound amplifier and generator of 
electromagnetic waves. The tube's inven- 
tor was Silicon Valley's first true giant: Lee 
DeForest. 

The vacuum tube made possible such 
electronic wonders as radio, television, the 
long-distance telephone, electronic com- 
puters, tape recorders, and electronic eyes 
that open doors in stores and office build- 
ings. 

DeForest and his associates were then 
working for the Federal Telegraph Co., in 
Palo Alto, the oldest American radio com- 
pany. But development of electronics in the 
San Francisco Bay Area dates back even 
earlier, to the turn of the century. Talented 
young men living in the area propelled the 



growth of radio by building the first major 
wireless station and by establishing the first 
wireless contact from an airplane to the 
ground. Federal Telegraph became the 
dominant force in this nascent industry. 

The company proved to be the nursery of 
the first generation of the valley's wizards, 
for among the many bright young men it 
attracted in addition to DeForest were such 
men as Charles Litton, who later founded 
the giant Litton Industries, starting it in a 
garage in San Carlos, 

An event almost as dramatic as that fly's 
monstrous march was the invention of the 
loudspeaker by two former employees of 
Federal Telegraph, Peter Jensen and E. S. 
Pridham. One day in 1917 the two men set 
up their apparatus on Mare Island in San 
Francisco Bay, From a window the loud- 
speaker faced the dock in the city of Val- 
lejo, about a quarter of a mile away. The 
town's streets were deserted , but there was 
a man on the dock. Jensen's voice boomed 
over the loudspeaker, asking the startled 
man to remove his hat. He promptly did, 
apparently thinking he had heard a voice 
from heaven. That year Jensen and 
Pridham established the Magnavox Co., 
which manufactures loudspeakers and 
radios. 

Federal Telegraph continued to breed 
other giants. While working at the company, 
Frederick Kolster developed the radio de- 
tection finder. In 1921 Ralph Heintz founded 
Heintz and Kauffmann. This company de- 
vised and built advanced shortwave radio 
transmitters, including those used by Rear 
Admiral Richard E. Byrd in his South Pole 
explorations. 

The man most responsible for the snow- 
balling buildup of new high-technology 
companies in and around Palo Alto before 
World War II, however, was Frederick Ter- 
man. The son of the developer of the fa- 
mous Stanford-Binet intelligence quotient 
(I.Q.) test, Terman studied as an under- 
graduate at Stanford and took a doctorate 
in electrical engineering from MIT In 1925 
he began teaching a course in radio en- 
gineering at Stanford and soon started the 
university's radio communications labora- 
tory. He attracted gifted students, and the 
fame of the laboratory spread. But it 
bothered Terman that the scarcity of local 
jobs forced most of his graduates to go into 
"exile in the East," and so he began to 
encourage them to start companies near 
the university. 



• Judging from activity under 
way only the first harvest 
of innovative products has been 
reaped from the valley T> 



The biggest payoff came in 1937 when 

two of his brightest students, William 
Hewlett and David Packard, started a 
company on a part-time basis in the one- 
car garage of the house where Packard 
and his wife lived. The two young inventors 
began by making an audio-oscillator, a 
device that generates signals of varying 
frequencies. Terman recalls that he could 
always tell when the fledgling firm had re- 
ceived an order. "If the car was in the 
garage, there was no backlog. But if the car 
was parked in the driveway, business was 
good." 

That garage shop is known today as the 
Hewlett-Packard Co., the world's largest 
producer of electronic measuring devices 
and equipment. The company now em- 
ploys more than 42,000 people worldwide, 
including some 12,000 in Silicon Valley. The 
company's annual sales are approaching 
$2 billion. 

Many otherfamous companies came out 
of Stanford University. I n 1 937 Professor Wil- 
liam H. Hansen teamed up with Sigurd and 
Russell Varian, young brothers and back- 
yard inventors in Palo Alto, to develop the 
klystron tube. A variant of the vacuum tube, 
the klystron generates strong microwaves 
that can be focused like the beam of a 
searchlight. The klystron tube became a 
foundation of radar and microwave com- 
munications, and out of it grew Varian 
Associates, a lucrative and prestigious 
company 

During World War II Terman headed a big 
defense electronics project at Harvard, 
where, among other things, he developed 
the aluminum chaff, which Allied bombers 
dropped on Germany and Nazi-occupied 
countries to confuse the Germans' radar. 
When Terman returned to Stanford, he con- 
tinued to fan innovative flames. In another 
pioneering move, for instance, he set up 
Stanford Industrial Park near the university 
which became the prototype of such 
facilities. It induced still more companies to 
locate in the area. 

Although it may seem as if Terman built 
Silicon Valley singlehandedly, there were 
other influences on the area's growth. Wil- 
liam Shockley, coinventor of the transistor, 
for instance, returned to Palo Alto, his boy- 
hood town, in 1955 and set up Shockley 
Transistor Corp. The transistor, of course, 
was the successor to the vacuum tube, 
perfected in Palo Alto 40 years earlier, and 
Santa Clara Valley was the logical place 




Frederick Terman: Benefactor of young genius. 

to cash in on this electronic technology. 

A brilliant scientist, Shockley gathered 
around him a large group of gifted elec- 
tronics specialists whom he had picked 
from big companies and universities 
throughout the country. In 1959, however, 
his operation fell apart as those bright 
young men, led by Robert N. Noyce, then 
only thirty-two, left and, with the backing of 
Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp., 
founded Fairchild Semiconductor in Moun- 
tain View, near Palo Alto. While there, Noyce 
became the coinventor of the integrated 
circuit, the successor to the transistor, 
which now jams thousands of micro- 
miniaturized transistors onto a tiny chip of 
silicon. He also built up Fairchild Semicon- 
ductor into a $150-million-a-year operation. 
He left in 1968 and with his friend Gordon E. 
Moore, a talented chemist who had con- 
tributed some of the major advances in 
semiconductor technology, founded Intel 
Corp., in Santa Clara. About 14,000 people 
are now employed at Intel, which expects 
to have sales of about $500 million this year. 

MICROBOOM 

Intel became the brightest star in the hot- 
test high technology going; semiconduc- 
tors. The company pioneered a computer 
memory chip that has become an industry 



standard, and more recently it has intro- 
duced that revolutionary microcomput- 
er — a computer-on-a-chip. which has led 
to the creation of many new consumer and 
industrial products. This pioneering, in 
turn, has contributed to the emergence of 
still other new companies, which are incor- 
porating the tiny electronic devices into 
new consumer products. 

One of the microcomputers' most spec- 
tacular applications has been the creation 
of electronic games. Nolan Bushnell, an 
engineer who went to Silicon Valley after 
having worked his way through the Univer- 
sity of Utah by operating a game arcade in 
a local amusement park, was largely re- 
sponsible for the birth of electronic games. 
Bushnell began in a proverbial garage. 
(The process of small-company formation 
in Silicon Valley, incidentally, has been 
honed to the point where in some industrial 
parks budding entrepreneurs can rent a 
garage, complete with a roll-up door, and 
two or three offices adjoining it.) Later 
Bushnell moved the company he named 
Atari into a medium-sized one-story build- 
ing alongside an apple orchard. Inside this 
building long-haired kids assembled 
games to the sound of rock music. More 
recently Atari has moved into huge quar- 
ters in nearby Sunnyvale. A cavernous 
game room off the main lobby is usually 
filled. -.with excited youngsters playing 
fabulous electronic gadgets for free. For 
the most part, they are employees' children 
celebrating their birthdays. 

The remarkable growth of Silicon Valley 
companies is a wonder to behold. One year 
you may visit a company founder in 
crammed quarters shared with a handful of 
fellow dreamers. Next year you may be vis- 
iting him in a spacious factory, which turns 
out data disks, or whatever he makes, like 
so many McDonald's hamburgers. 

That kind of growth is what has made 
employment in Silicon Valley expand at 
seven times the national rate during the 
past five years and almost twice as fast as 
elsewhere in California. Jobs go begging 
for both specialists and the unskilled. This 
year an estimated 19,000 jobs will be avail- 
able in Silicon Valley. 

The beautiful setting and attractive job 
market have drawn many newcomers to the 
affluent communities of the valley. Real- 
estate prices have soared, and housing is 
now in very high demand. Many workers 
have begun to commute to the area from 



the outskirts, making automobile-gener- 
ated pollution an increasing problem. The 
cost of living is high, too. 

Yet most people already in Silicon Valley 
would not exchange it for any other place 
on Earth— so enamored are they of the cli- 
mate and their surroundings, which in- 
cludes a friendliness and informality not 
usually encountered in the big cities on the 

East Coast. 

BECKONING MECCA 



The valley is also changing in subtler 
ways. It is, for example, becoming more a 
professional, and less a manufacturing, 
center. Now the young fortune seekers are 
colonizing such obscure places as Aloha, 
Michigan, and Nampa, Idaho, where they 
are putting up plants because land and 
labor are cheaper. It has gotten harder to 
become a millionaire in the valley, partly 
because of higher taxes and restrictive 
federal regulations. However, new com- 
panies are continually being formed in the 
valley, and young men continue to get rich. 
Spreading applications of microcomput- 
ers, in particular, have reeently given rise to 
a whole battery of companies that man- 
ufacture home computers — among them 
Apple Computer, Inc., Video-Brain Com- 
puter Co., and Cromemco — as well as 
chains of computer stores, such as Com- 
puterland and ByteShops. 

Entrepreneurs now arrive from faraway 
places to establish companies in the valley. 
John Peers came all the way from England 
because he felt that Silicon Valley offered 
the best expertise for manufacturing his 
unusual product — a talking computer 
called Adam. For similar reasons, David 
and Doris Bossen moved to the valley from 
Columbus, Ohio, and started Measurex 
Corp., a highly successful company that 
makes computer-guided controls for paper 
mills and other manufacturing plants. As 
they explain, "Paper mills are in the woods 
because that's where their raw materials 
are. We are here because ou r raw materials 
are brains." The Bossens knew that the 
types of diverse specialists they needed 
could be found only in Silicon Valley, and 
they found them easily. 

There is a lot more company develop- 
ment to come. According to Bob Noyce, 
semiconductor wizard and cotounderof In- 
tel, the applications of microelectronics 
have yet to create a change as fundamen- 
tal in our society as the automobile did. But 
he predicts that they will create such a 
change in applications where "slices" of 
electronic brainpower will be incorporated 
into a myriad of products for the home, 
office, and factory — from the telephone to 
the computer-controlled lathe. The recent 
appearance of those ubiquitous electronic 
wristwatches, pocket calculators, and 
electronic cash registers is just the first 
swelling of the ocean of products roaring 
up on those slices of electronic intelligence 
created by Noyce and Moore. 

As for semiconductor devices them- 
selves, Noyce adds, the technical prob- 

58 OMNI 



lems have largely been overcome. Innova- 
tion in the semiconductor area, he thinks, is 
mostly over— at least for the time being. 

Maybe so. But to find out for sure, we had 
to check with the financial backers of these 
contemporary Merlins who have the ability 
to transform equations into LED wrist- 
watches, desktop computers, and bacteria 
that breed human insulin. 

In their suite atop the Embarcadero Cen- 
ter, which houses their operation — with 
sunlit panoramas of San Francisco hills and 
billowing sails on the bay — neither Gene 
Kleiner nor Tom Perkins seemed much 
alarmed about any decline in innovation in 
the valley 

With good reason. Venture capitalists 
Kleiner and Perkins — whose previous suc- 
cesses include Fairchild Semiconductor, 
which Kleiner helped start, and a laser 
company that Perkins founded and sold to 
Spectra-Physics, the major laser-produc- 
ing company in the world — are more active 
than ever with new and successful com- 



• Bacteria engineered 
to produce human insulin, 

an artificial heart 
not dependent on nuclear 

fuel, computers that 
can understand speech- 
Silicon Valley is 
ail that with more to come. 5 



panies. Tandem Computers, specializing 
in multiprocessor "fail-proof" computers, 
was one of the few companies able to go 
public in 1977, a tough year for such enter- 
prises. Another of their new brainchildren, 
Genentech, a firm working in recombi- 
nant DNA, has already successfully engi- 
neered bacteria into microscopic facto- 
ries that churn out human insulin. 

"Another one of our companies," Kleiner 
says, "is developing an artificial heart." 
That company is Andros, in Berkeley. 

'Although we're looking at many different 
companies, and helping to develop some 
here," Perkins says, "I don't think we'd 
dream of financing a new semiconductor 
company." The costs of doing that have 
soared into tens of millions of dollars. 

Kleiner and Perkins sometimes lend 
money to new businesses and leave them 
to their own resources, but they often take a 
more direct interest in new companies. 
Both Tandem and Genentech, for example, 
are being run by people who worked for 
Kleiner and Perkins in those same Embar- 
cadero Center offices before setting out to 
chart new seas. 

Well, then, if not semiconductors, what 



do these two ambitious capitalists think the 
wave of the future is going to be? 

"If you look across the horizon," Perkins 
says, "we think the next wave is biological." 
BIOMED WHIZ KIDS 

Two other giants of the valley, Alejandro 
(Alex) Zaffaroni and Car! Djerassi, actually 
got this biological revolution going. The 
smooth-talking Zaffaroni was born in Mon- 
tevideo, Uruguay, the son of a banker. He 
started out by studying medicine, but, as 
so often happens, a brilliant instructor soon - 
redirected his interest into biochemistry. 
The instructor had explained in exciting 
terms the central role ot the carbon atom in 
organic chemistry, and Zaffaroni decided 
to explore that role. He came to the Univer- 
sity of Rochester and obtained a doctorate 
in biochemistry there. Soon his brilliant 
flashes of insight produced what is known 
in chemistry textbooks as the Zaffaroni 
System, a method for separating steroid 
compounds by paper chromatography. 
This method served as a stepping-stone 
toward large-scale production of steroids 
by pharmaceutical companies. Several 
years later Zaffaroni became executive 
vice-president of Syntex Corp, in Mexico 
City, where he led the company's pioneer- 
ing drive toward the synthesis of the birth- 
control pill and other advanced drugs. 

At this stage the ubiquitous Fred Terman 
enters the picture once more. In his effort to 
build up Stanford University's chemistry 
department, Terman, as the university's 
vice-president, asked Djerassi to become 
a professor there. Djerassi did so-— without 
leaving Syntex. Djerassi is the father of the 
birth-control pill, which he developed while 
working for Syntex. He would be a giant 
anywhere. Born in Vienna, Austria, of a 
Bulgarian father and an Austrian mother, 
both physicians, he was expected to follow 
in their footsteps. Like Zaffaroni, however, 
Djerassi was drawn into chemistry by an 
outstanding instructor, receiving his Ph. D. 
from the University of Wisconsin in 1945. 
Medicine's loss has been chemistry's gain; 
according to a friend who is a Nobel 
laureate, Djerassi has done enough high- 
quality work to win two or three Nobel 
prizes. 

Both highly creative and imaginative in- 
dividuals, Zaffaroni and Djerassi have 
since been responsible for the formation of 
four pioneering companies, all located in 
Palo Alto. To accommodate Djerassi, in a 
modern rnountain-comes-to-Muhammad 
move, Syntex relocated its entire research 
and its manufacturing operation to Palo 
Alto— thus bringing still another high- 
technology company into the area. Zaffa- 
roni came from Mexico to head the Syntex 
operation. While both men were with Syn- 
tex, they originated Syva Corp., which 
jointly with Varian Associates engaged in 
the manufacture of medical instrumenta- 
tion, and Zoecon Corp., a firm pioneering 
the applications of hormonal regulators of 
insect growth. Djerassi later left Syntex to 
direct Zoecon, while continuing to teach 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 119 











■^Jm 



•w; r.- 




"Don't wait up!' 




The wit and wisdom 

of science fiction's most renowned 

character — and his author! 

THE 

NOTEBOOKS 

OF 

LAZARUS LONG 

BY ROBERT A. HEINLEIN 



^/cience -fiction writers 
create visions of tomorrow, but Robert A. Heinlein, 
the dominant figure of twentieth-century science 
fiction, has created a coherent scenario of the 
future in a long, interlinked series of novels and 
shorter works called the Future History series. 
One of the recurring characters in the Future His- 
tory series is Lazarus Long — a man who has lived 
for thousands of years, a man who has traveled to 
the stars, a man who is in effect immortal. Lazarus 
Long first appeared in Heinlein's 1941 novel, 
Methuselah's Children, and 30 years later be- 
came the central character in his novel Jime 
Enough for Love . 

A man who has spent dozens of human life- 
times in going everywhere, living life to its fullest, 
and surviving it all is a man who has accumulated 
a vast wealth of wit and wisdom. In The Note- 
books of Lazarus Long, Heinlein has amassed 
the key ingredients of Lazarus Long's philoso- 
phy: his thoughts on the human condition, poli- 
tics, love, religion, the art of living. 

Here, then, are just a few of Lazarus Long's 
choice bits of wisdom. Ponder them carefully. 
They are precision -engineered to help you (in the 
words of another science-fiction character) to 
"live long and prosper." —Ben Bova 

Texl excefpled from The Notebooks of Lazarus Long. G. P. Putnam's 
Sons. New York, (ci Robert A. Heinlein 1973. 1978. 1979. 



o A generation that ignores history 
has no past — and no future. You live and 

iearn. Or you don't live long.J 



When a place gets crowded enough to require IDs, social 

collapse is not far away. It is time to go 

elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it 

made it possible to go elsewhere. 

There are hidden contradictions in the minds of people 

who "love Nature" while deploring the 

"artificialities" with which "Man has spoiled 'Nature.' " The 

obvious contradiction lies in their choice of 

words, which imply that Man and his artifacts are not part 

of "Nature" — but beavers and their dams are. 

Such contradictions go deeper than this prima-facie 

absurdity. In declaring his love for a beaver 

dam {erected by beavers for beavers' purposes) and his 

hatred for dams erected by men (for the 

purposes of men), the "Naturist" reveals his hatred for his 

own race^ — i.e., his own self-hatred. 

"No man is an island — " Much as we may feel and act as 

individuals, our race is a single organism, 

always growing and branching — which must be pruned 

regularly to be healthy. This necessity need 

not be argued; anyone with eyes can see that any 

organism which grows without limit always 

dies in its own poisons. The only rational question is 

whether pruning is best done before 

or after birth. 





• Everything in excess! 

To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. 

Moderation is for monks. 9 




What are the facts? Again and again — what are the facts? 

Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine 

revelation, forget what "the stars foretell,'' avoid opinion, 

care not what the neighbors think, never mind 
the unguessable "verdict of history" — what are the facts, 

and to how many decimal places? You pilot 

always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. 

Get the facts! 

Tilting at windmills hurts you more than the windmills. 

Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to 

themselves. Most gods have the manners 

and morals of a spoiled child. 

A human being should be able to change a diaper,. plan 

an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, 

design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, 

build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, 
take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve 

equations, analyze a new problem, pitch 

manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight 

efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization 

is for insects. 

The difference between science and the fuzzy subjects is 
that science requires reasoning, while those 
other subjects merely require scholarship. 





• To be "matter offset" about 
the world is to blunder into fantasy — and 

dull fantasy at that — as 
the real world is strange and wonderful. 9 



Do not confuse "duty" with what other people expect of 

you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt 

you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed 

voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail 

anything from years of patient work to instant willingness 

to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is 

self-respect. 

To stay young requires unceasing cultivation of the ability 
to unlearn old falsehoods. 

This sad little lizard told me that he was a brontosaurus on 

his mother's side. I did not laugh; people who 

boast of ancestry often have little else to sustain them. 

Humoring them costs nothing and adds 

happiness in a world in which happiness is always in 

short supply. 

Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully 

human. At best, he is a tolerable subhuman 

who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make 

messes in the house. 

The more you love, the more you can love — and the more 

intensely you love. Nor is there any limit on 

how many you can love. If a person had time enough, 

he could love all of that majority who are 

decent and just. 

DO 





Are we starving the ocean 
by not dumping enough garbage 
into it? Are we ignoring the 
Pacific as an ideal storeroom 
for nuclear wastes? An 
unconventional expert attacks 
some sacred cows 



iniTER\yiElAJ 




The things he says would curdle the blood of any self-re- 
specting conservationist. For one thing, oceanographer 
John Q Isaacs loudly advocates the storing of radioactive 
wastes on the ocean bottom. Environmentalists say the wastes 
would poison the planet. Isaacs retorts that "oceanic disposal of 
atomic wastes may be the sea's greatest contribution to power for 
humanity." For another, Isaacs opposes sophisticated secondary 
treatment of garbage before dumping it into the ocean. In fact, 
| he'd like to see more waste in the sea. "That doesn't hurt the 
:n ocean," he says. "It helps it-" Perhaps worst of all, Isaacs won't 
| even spare that great sacred cow of the ocean, the porpoise, from 

1 his caustic tongue. He describes the public concern over the 
% slaughter of this intelligent beast by tuna fishermen as being 
>■ "woefully misdirected." In typical Isaacs fashion, he seems more 

2 worried about the tuna. "Instead of demanding, 'How do we stop 
| the slaughter 7 ' " he suggests, "we should be finding ways to 
£ preserve the populations of both predators— porpoises and tuna." 



Who is this madman, and why is he saying all these strange 
things about the ocean? 

John Isaacs, who spends most of his waking hours tilting at 
popular notions about the sea, may just be the most creative 
oceanographer and lover of salt water-in the world. He is no 
headline-hunting amateur, but a man with impressive credentials 
from more than 31 years of marine research and study. Since 1971 
he has been director of the University of California's prestigious 
25-year-old Institute of Marine Resources (IMR), based in La Jolla. 
There he presides over an annual budget approaching $5 million, 
which funds research and public information in awide spectrum of 
oceanic concerns: the nature of the sea itself, its contents and 
boundaries, its interrelated processes, and the effects of man's 
presence and actions. 

Brimming with what he calls "modified optimism." Isaacs most 
enjoys destroying the popular notion that the ocean, poisoned by 
man, is dying and that nothing can be done about it. "Nonsense," 



says Isaacs. That's a belief generated by matinee idols of the 
oceanic world (are you listening, Jacques Cousteau?), com- 
pounded by a few scientists "who have come to value problems 
more than solutions. 

"I am neither an optimist nor a pessimist," he says. I'm a 
meliorist. A pessimist says things will get worse, regardless of what 
we. do. An optimist says they'll get better, regardless. But a meliorist 
says they'll get better if we do something about them." 

Isaacs's purpose in life, as I MR director, is to "do something 
about them." And as a staff member of the Scripps Institution of 
Oceanography, which he joined in 1948, Isaacs has literally 
roamed the globe to conduct research of his own: studies of the 
sea's deep-scattering layer, deep-sea photography (his cameras 
once snapped a hitherto unknown species of shark), climatology, 
water supplies, sea energy forms, sand transport, and the marine 
food web. It was Isaacs who, 25 years ago, proposed that Antarc- 
tic icebergs be towed to northern latitudes as a freshwater source. 
Equally eyebrow-raising was his suggestion, delineated in a for- 
mal scientific paper, that the American custom of driving on the 
right side of the road may be an important contributor to the 
number, duration, and intensity of tornadoes. ('At least fourteen 
percent of U.S. tornadoes are under man's control," he insists.) 

Born in Spokane, Washington, in 1913, Isaacs came to oceanog- 



raphy in a roundabout way Bored with college, he dropped out, 
becoming a merchant seaman and later a commercial fisherman. 
He has also been a logger and a forest-fire lookout. He returned to 
college (the University of California) and received a bachelor's 
degree in engineering in 1944, at the age of thirty-one. Meanwhile, 
he had bombarded Scripps officials with letters seeking a job ("I 
thought they could use a layman's viewpoint down there"), and in 
1948 he was hired as assistant oceanographer. Despite his not 
having an advanced degree, he's been there ever since, presently 
as professor of oceanography; he was the director of the important 
Marine Life Research Group from 1958 to 1974, was acting chair- 
man of the department of oceanography in 1966-67, and has 
been director of IMR since 1971. 

He is a gregarious, good-natured man with a flowing, Santa 
Claus-like white beard who collects quotations as a hobby (they're 
sprinkled liberally through every Isaacs lecture and paper), and 
his La Jolla office, a study in orderly clutter, commands a view of 
the Pacific Ocean, whose secrets Scripps scientists have probed 
for 75 years. 

Despite man's incessant impact, the ocean remains a major, 
virtually untapped resource for mankind, Isaacs believes. Our 
reporter, Joseph E. Brown, former editor of Oceans magazine, 
began the interview by testing Isaacs's "modified optimism." 



Omni: Is man killing the sea? 
Isaacs: That is the widespread assump- 
tion, but I am strongly opposed to this view 

With the exception of effects stemming 
from the highly selective nature of his 
fisheries, there is no evidence that man's 
activities can or will alter the general envi- 
ronment of the open sea. 

I was present Las a scientific observer] 
and watched for more than three years, 
most often with horror, the indescribable 
violence that was perpetrated on Bikini in 
the Marshall Islands. Multimegaton explo- 
sions of nuclear devices ripped craters two 
kilometers wide in the coral reefs. Millions 
of megacuries of nuclear debris fell into the 
lagoon and into the surrounding sea. I don't 
condone these acts, and I hope that man 
will rapidly pass the phase in which he 
deems them to be necessary. The point is 
that Bikini epitomizes the immense resil- 
ience of the sea and its creatures. Despite 
the apparent fragility of the reef and lagoon 
ecosystems, in subsequent continuous 
studies it has been almost impossible to 
discover any abnormalities of these crea- 
tures or their populations. 
Omni: Surely, though, you are not suggest- 
ing that there should be no controls on the 
poisons and pollutants we put into the sea. 
Isaacs: Of course not. The disposal of 
high-level radioactive waste in the sea or 
the deep subbottom must be undertaken 
with the most thoughtful study and caution. 
As for other waste disposal, such as 
domestic waste, there must be adequate 
source control of chemical pollutants. It's 
insanity to introduce into the sea such 
levels of organic mercury or DDT as have 
been discharged in the past into Minamata 
Bay in Japan or at Whites Point in Califor- 
nia. Also, removal of floatable materials 
and other advanced primary treatment of 
sewage must be exercised, and offshore 
discharges must be properly designed. 
There must also be continuous monitoring 
for important pollutants, such as PCB, or 

■ 72 OMNI 



mutagenic compounds and mitotic 
poisons, such as dioxin. 

But to devote immense amounts of pre- 
cious capital for secondary, tertiary, or 
quaternary treatment to avoid feeding the 
open sea totally disregards, in my opinion, 
the true nature of the sea. 
Omni: You made this point about a year 
ago in testifying before a congressional 
committee in opposition to the proposed 
new Environmental Protection Agency 
rules that would require such treatment. At 
that time you discussed how life in the sea 
is actually stimulated by introduction of 
sewage and other materials. Can you give 
examples? 

Isaacs: Certainly. Just offhand, witness 
the doubling of fisheries production in the 
North Sea over the last two decades, now 
reluctantly being attributed to the stimulat- 
ing effects of the input of domestic wastes. 
Generally, the same thing holds true in the 
southern California coastal area. 
Omni: What you are saying, then, is that as 
a result of some waste-disposal restrictions 
we may starve the ocean of valuable mate- 
rials essential to the survival of fish and 
other marine life. 

Isaacs: Yes. Essentially all man does is 
take things out of the ocean, and, unlike 
any other member of the marine food web, 
he does not put back the things that can 
regenerate that life. In the eastern Mediter- 
ranean this is going to be particularly seri- 
ous, where even the great inputs from the 
rivers, including millions of tons of organic 
material and nutrients from the Nile, are no 
longer flowing into that hungry sea. The 
Mediterranean is already a starved ocean. 
Ali of man's acts now are going to exacer- 
bate that. 

Omni: How would you reverse this trend 9 
Isaacs: We should recycle organic mate- 
rial into the ocean, at least as much as was 
naturally introduced. Certainly, man should 
also put back at least as much as he takes 
out. Also, since the ocean in general is a 



starving ocean — even in relatively rich 
places of the sea, like the California Cur- 
rent, the productivity is far below the poten- 
tial — I cannot conceive that a doubling or 
tripling of the input can have any other than 
a beneficial effect. Even primitive people 
manure their fields. 

In general, we fail to appreciate how the 
ocean operates. And nowhere is this more 
apparent than in the various proposals for 
secondary treatment of sewage. Some- 
body has said that secondary treatment 
[additional treatment of garbage before 
dumping it into the sea] is just an expensive 
way to pump oxygen into the ocean, a sub- 
stance it already has in abundance. And to 
a degree this is true. ■ 
Omni: Despite our accelerated research 
in the sea during the past few years, then, 
we still do not fully understand all that goes 
on there? 

Isaacs: In the case of disposal of domestic 
wastes in the ocean, it is more a matter of 
not applying what we do know. Many coun- 
tries bordering on the sea are planning 
these extremely expensive and highly ad- 
vanced municipal waste-treatment plants, 
ostensibly to avoid "polluting" the sea with 
organic materials and nutrients. Such 
plans reflect a serious misunderstanding of 
science. 

They neglect these specific facts: that a 
major part of the adaptation and activity of 
the creatures of the sea is directed to the 
conversion of waste particles into new or- 
ganisms; that most of the sea is starving 
and particularly deficient in just those sorts 
of material that are introduced by domestic 
waste; that seawater is a toxic material to 
most land organisms, such as disease bac- 
teria, and highly inimical to their survival, 
and that many parts of the sea are even 
denied the millions of tons of organic mate- 
rials that once flowed annually from rivers, 
for the natural flow of these materials is now 
being stopped by dams. There is no evi- 
dence that the marine discharge of 'sec- 



. ondary, rather than primary, effluent im- 
proves anything, and there are reasons to 
believe it may be more disturbing than any 
present practice. 

In other words, these inputs appear 
mainly to be beneficial, contrary to the 
proclamations of [Jacques-Yves] Cou- 
steau and [Thor] Heyerdahl. 
Omni: What do you believe to be the basis 
of this misunderstanding of the sea's pro- 
cesses? 

Isaacs: There are some very common 
myths. The bioaccumulation of trace met- 
als via domestic waste disposal, for in- 
stance. The "delicate balance" of the 
marine environment. The alleged all-heal- 
ing properties of secondary sewage treat- 
ment. And many other cliches and misper- 
ceptions that have led us to a serious 
estrangement from reality. 
Omni: Exactly what is this myth of the sea's 
"delicate balance"? 

Isaacs: People do not understand that the 
"game plan" of the sea is different from that 
of terrestrial environments. Almost all the 
creatures of the open sea, unlike those on 
land, are born into a highly variable and 
stochastic [chance-dominated] system, in 
which they have little assurance of the na- 
ture of their prey predators, associates, or 
competitors. They eat anything grossly ac- 
cessible to their mode of feeding and are 
eaten by anything to which they are avail- 
able. Although this may seem repulsive to 
us, nevertheless it is the way of marine life. 
At every step in the two living game plans 
of the land and the sea, these differences 
are further complicated. And the differ- 
ences must be recognized if we are not to 
be misled in our attempts to deal with 
man's needs from the sea and his effects 
on it in the ofttimes painful process of his 
accommodation on this planet. 
Omni: And the other myths? 
Isaacs: There is an abundance of prob- 
lems, if in fact they are problems, which 
have been defined too narrowly or errone- 
ously or capriciously. Indeed, once these 
definitions have been recorded on the pris- 
tine and persistent tablets of law or policy, 
the enforcing and regulatory agency in- 
volved may specifically constrain any re- 
search that questions the validity of the 
premises under which the law was estab- 
lished. 

Omni: Can you cite any examples? 
Isaacs: The Marine Mammals Act, as ad- 
ministered, in effect eliminates the possibil- 
ity of meaningful inquiry on the tuna-por- 
poise problem. [The act prohibits the killing 
or capturing of sea mammals, such as por- 
poises and whales.] The point can be 
made that marine mammals, including 
fishermen, and birds are a potentially seri- 
ous destabilizing influence on the higher 
pelagic food web. They take from it but only 
vicariously participate in its maintenance. 
The question should be, How can a bal- 
ance be maintained between these groups 
in the face of a selective mortality on the 
tuna? [Referring to the controversy over the 
fact that fishermen incidentally kill many 



porpoises in their nets while harvesting 
tuna, one of the factors that led to passage 
of the Marine Mammals Act.] But this ques- 
tion can never be fully answered, because 
in order to do so, you must take porpoises 
from the sea to study them, and the law 
prohibits you from doing this. Thus, the 
fundamental problem, by law, is difficult to 
examine, for it questions the law. 

Similarly the policy on domestic-sewage 
effluent discharged into the open sea pre- 
cludes research into its actual effects, for 
this would also question the presumption of 
law. This is the most ominous cut of all. 
Many of the regulatory agencies in the 
United States are beginning to adopt the 
pose of medieval churches, with regard not 
for what is true or right, but for what sup- 
ports their own delusions of power, omni- 
science, and infallibility. 
Omni: You said in a speech in Oregon last 
year that "problems are our new frontier." 
What did you mean by that? 
Isaacs: I meant that we have come to value 



^The aftermath of 

the Bikini multimegaton 

nuclear-bomb tests 

has shown us the immense 

resilience of 

the sea, and its creatures, 

despite its 

much-popuiarized fragility. 9 



problems more than solutions. As Meg 
Greenfield has pointed out, we tend to 
"colonize" problems, greeting each new 
one, real or otherwise, as new and precious 
land for settlement and a joyous, profitable 
existence. In fact, much effort is spent in 
cultivation and refurbishment of the prob- 
lem so that it continues to appear fresh, 
important, and worthy down through the 
fiscal years. 

Omni: Once again, an example? 
Isaacs: Oil in the sea. We seem to think 
that oil is immensely and permanently 
damaging, something introduced only by 
man. Certainly the quantities and concen- 
trations affecting beaches are unique in 
our era. But oil in the ocean is not unique. 
Geological structures eroding away have 
released great quantities of oil; you can 
look at the Trinidad or La Brea tar pits and 
imagine the immense quantities of oil that 
must have gone into the atmosphere and 
ocean. Innumerable ships were sunk along 
our coasts during World War II. Do you see 
any great permanent scars from them? 
Omni: You're not suggesting that we 
should tolerate oil spills without trying to do 
something to stop them, are you? 



Isaacs: Of course not. Oil spills are nasty. 

They are insults to the planet. People 
shouldn't be allowed to let them happen. 
Oil damages birds. It screws up the 
beaches. It fouls rocks. But the thing I really 
object to is how a scientist can take that 
situation — a single oil spill — and keep it 
going as a problem long past the point 
where it ceases to be one. 
Omni: In what way? 

Isaacs: A well-known scientist several 
years ago investigated an oil spill in a small 
cove in Baja California. A small tanker had 
gone aground there. Recently, in comment- 
ing on another oil spill, he said on national 
television, in effect, "I've checked this cove 
every year since, and conditions are not yet 
back to normal." What he did not say is that 
for the past eight years the cove's biologi- 
cal community has been the richest he'd 
ever seen along the Baja coast. 

Now what is it in a man's mind that makes 
him take a flap like that and build it up? Why 
does he keep the controversy going in pub- 
lic while in scientific reports he admits that 
that cove is at the richest point in its history? 
Omni: Meg Greenfield's concept of "col- 
onizing"? 

Isaacs: Exactly. He's homesteaded that 
problem, and, by God, he doesn't want to 
damage it with the truth. I think this is highly 
reprehensible, as are scientists who always 
couch their findings in such language that 
no one but an associated specialist can 
understand. They are thieves, stealing 
knowledge from humanity with a thief's 
argot. 

Omni: To the layman, at least, oil in the sea 
seems much less of a hazard to human 
health than nuclearwastesdo. Yetyou have 
endorsed a proposal for dumping nuclear 
wastes in the sea . . . 

Isaacs: No, I haven't said that. I said stor- 
age, not dumping. There's quite a differ- 
ence. Nor have I endorsed it. What I've said 
is that we have a great opportunity to de- 
termine the ocean's capacity for the safe 
storage of waste atomic materials. Obvi- 
ously, the final solution to their disposal is 
subject to controversy; it involves providing 
certainty over great periods of time. Fortu- 
nately, man is presently gaining an unprec- 
edented understanding of the geological 
and geophysical behavior of our planet. 
Omni: You are referring to what we have 
learned about plate tectonics, the theory 
that the continents ride atop huge and 
slowly shifting subsurface plates, causing 
continents to "drift" and causing earth- 
quakes where one plate interacts with 
another? 

Isaacs: Exactly. There are large areas of 
the sea that are far from these active zones. 
There are regions in the deep North Pacific, 
where we could store nuclear wastes far 
beneath the sediments and nothing would 
crack them open for ten million years. 
Omni: Have we really learned enough 
about "continental drift" to say with abso- 
lute certainty that there are areas well- 
enough defined that we can deposit atomic 
wastes there safely? 

CONF'MUED ON PAGE 121 73 






FICTION 

He had a good life, a good marriage, but 
the challenge was — death 



QUIETUS 



BY ORSON SCOTT CARD 




It came to him suddenly, a 
moment of blackness as he 
sat at his desk, working 
late. It was as quick as the 
blink of an eye. Before the 
darkness the papers on his 
desk had seemed terribly 
important, and now he stared 
at them blankly, wondering 
what they were and then 
realizing that he didn't really 
give a damn what they were 
and he ought to be going 
home now. 

Ought definitely to be going 
home now. And C. Mark 
Tapworth, of CMT Enterprises, 
Inc., arose from his desk 
without finishing all the work 
that was on it, the first time he 
had done such a thing in the 
twelve years it had taken him 
to bring the company from 
nothing to being a 
multimillion-dollar-a-year 
business. Vaguely, it occurred 
to him that he was not acting 
normally, but he didn't really 
care; it didn't really matter to 
htm a bit whether any more 
people bought . . . bought . . . 

And for a few seconds 
Tapworth could not remember 
what it was that his company 
made. 



This frightened him. It 
reminded him that his father 
and his uncles had all died of 
strokes. It reminded him of his 
mother's senility at the fairly 
young age of sixty-eight. It 
reminded him of something he 
had always known and never 
quite believed: that he was 
mortal and that all the works of 
his days would gradually 
become more and more trivial, 
until his death, at which time 
his life itself would be his only 
act, a forgotten stone whose 
fall in the lake had set off 
ripples that would in time 
reach the shore, having made, 
after all, no difference. 

I'm tired, he decided. 
MaryJo is right. I need a rest. 

But he was not the resting 
kind, not until that moment 
when, standing by his desk, 
the blackness came again, 
this time a jog in his mind. And 
he remembered nothing, saw 
nothing, heard nothing, was 
falling interminably through 
nothingness. 

Then, mercifully, the world 
returned to him and he stood 
trembling, regretting now the 
many, many nights he had 
stayed far too late, the many 



hours he had not spent with 
MaryJo, had left her alone in 
their large but childless 
house. And he imagined her 
waiting for him forever, a lonely 
woman dwarfed by the huge 
living room, waiting patiently 
for a husband who would, who 
must, who always had, come 
home. 

Is it my heart? Or a stroke? 
he wondered. Whatever it 
was, it was enough that he 
saw the end of the world 
lurking in the darkness that 
had visited him, and, as for 
the prophet returning from the 
mount, things that once had 
mattered overmuch mattered 
not at all, and things he had 
long postponed now silently 
importuned him. He felt a 
terrible urgency that there was 
something he must do 
before — 

Before what? He would not 
let himself answer. He just 
walked out through the large 
room full of ambitious younger 
men and women trying to 
impress him by working later 
than he; noticed but did not 
care that they were visibly 
relieved at their reprieve from 
another endless night. He 



walked out, got into his car 
and drove home through a 
thin mist of rain that made the 
world retreat a comfortable 
distance from the windows of 
his car. 

No one ran to greet him at 
the door. The children must be 
upstairs, he realized. The 
children, a boy and a girl half 
his height and with twice his 
energy, were admirable 
creatures who ran downstairs 
as if they were skiing, who 
could hold completely still no 
more than a hummingbird in 
midair could. He could hear 
their footsteps upstairs, 
running lightly across the floor. 
They hadn't come to greet him 
at the door because things in 
their lives, after all, were more 
important than mere fathers. 
He smiled, set down his 
attache case, and went to the 
kitchen. 

MaryJo looked harried, 
upset. He recognized the 
signals instantly — she had 
cried earlier today. 

"What's wrong?" 

"Nothing," she said, 
because she always said 
Nothing. He knew that in a 



PAINTING BY MICHEL HENRICOT 



moment she would tell him- She always told 
him everything, which had sometimes 
made him impatient. Now as she moved 
silently back and forth from counter to 
counter, from cupboard to stove, making 
another perfect dinner, he realized that she 
was not going to tell him. It made him un- 
comfortable. He began to try to guess. 

"You work too hard," he said. "I've offered 
to get a maid or a cook. We can certainly 
afford one." 

MaryJo just smiled thinly. "I don't want 
anyone else mucking around i.n the 
kitchen/' she said. "I thought we dropped 
that subject years ago. Did you — did you 
have a hard day at the office?" 

Mark almost told her about his strange 
lapses of memory but caught himself. He 
would have to lead up to telling her gradu- 
ally MaryJo would not be able to cope with 
it, not in the state she was already in. "Not 
too hard. Finished up early." 

"I know," she said. "I'm . . . glad." 

She didn't sound glad. It irritated him a 
little. Hurt his feelings. But instead of going 
off to nurse his wounds, he merely noticed 
his emotions as if he was a dispassionate 
observer. He saw himself: important self- 
made man, yet, at home, a little boy who 
could be hurt, not just by a word but by a 
short pause of indecision. Sensitive, sensi- 
tive; and he was amused at himself. For a 
moment he almost saw himself standing a 
few inches away, could observe the 
amused expression on his own face. 

"Excuse me," MaryJo said, and she 
opened a cupboard door as he stepped 
out of the way She pulled out a pressure 
cooker, "We're out of potato flakes," she 
said. "Have to do it the primitive way." She 
dropped the peeled potatoes into the pan. 

"The children are awfully quiet today," he 
said. "Do you know what they're doing?" 

MaryJo looked at him with a bewildered 
expression. 

"They didn't come meet me at the door. 
Not that I mind. They're busy with their own 
concerns, I know." 

"Mark," MaryJo said. 

'All right. You see through me so easily. 
But I was only a little hurt. I want to look 
through today's mail." He wandered out of 
the kitchen. He was vaguely aware that 
behind him MaryJo had started to cry 
again. He did not let it worry him much. She 
cried easily and often. 

He wandered into the living room, and 
the furniture surprised him. He had ex- 
pected to see the green sofa and chair that 
he had bought from Deseret Industries, 
and the size of the living room and the 
tasteful antiques looked utterly wrong. 
Then his mind did a quick turn, and he 
remembered that the old green sofa and 
chair were fifteen years ago, when he and 
MaryJo had first married. Why did I expect 
to see them? he wondered, and he worried 
again; worried also because he had come 
into the living room expecting to find the 
mail, even though, every day, for years, 
MaryJo had been putting it on his desk. 

He went into his study and picked up the 

78 OMNI 



mail and started sorting through it until he 
noticed, out of the corner of one eye, that 
something dark and massive was blocking 
the lower half of one of the windows. He 
looked. It was a coffin, a rather plain one, 
sitting on a rolling table from a mortuary. 

"MaryJo," he called. "MaryJo." 

She came into the study, looking afraid. 
"Yes?" 

"Why is there a coffin in my study?" he 
asked. 

"Coffin?" she asked. 

"By the window, MaryJo. How did it get 
here?" 

She looked disturbed. "Please don't 
touch it," she said. 

"Why not?" 

"I can't stand seeing you touch it. 1 told 
them they could leave it here for a few 
hours. But now it looks like it has to stay all 
night." The idea of the coffin staying in the 
house any longer was obviously repugnant 
to her. 

" Who left it here? And why us? It's not as 



• He went into his 
study and picked up the mail 

and . . . noticed 
out of the corner of one eye 

that something 
. . . was blocking . . . one of 

the windows. He 
looked. It was a coffin. 9 



if we're in the. market. Or do they sell these 
at parties now, like Tupperware?" 

"The bishop called and asked me— 
asked me to let the mortuary people leave it 
here for the funeral tomorrow. He said no- 
body could get away to unlock the church 
and could we take it here for a few hours—" 

It occurred to him that the mortuary 
would not have parted with a funeral-bound 
coffin unless it was filled, 

"MaryJo, is there a body in it?" 

She nodded, and..a tear slipped over her 
lower eyelid. He was aghast. He let himself 
show it. "They left a corpse in a coffin here 
with you all day? With the kids?" 

She buried her face in her hands and ran 
from the room, ran upstairs. 

Mark did not follow her. He stood there 
and regarded the coffin with distaste. At 
least they had the good sense to close it. 
But a coffin! He went to the telephone at his 
desk and dialed the bishop's number. 

"He isn't here." The bishop's wife 
sounded irritated by his call. 

"He has to get this body out of my study 
and out of my house tonight. This is a terri- 
ble imposition." 

"I don't know where to reach him. He's a 



doctor, you know, Brother Tapworth. He's at 
the hospital. Operating. There's no way I 
can contact him for something like this." 

"So what am I supposed to do?" 

She got surprisingly emotional about it. 
"Do what you want! Push the coffin out into 
the street if you want! It'll just be one more 
hurt to the poor man!" 

"Which brings me to another question. 
Who is he, and why isn't his family—" 

"He doesn't have a family, Brother Tap- 
worth. And he doesn't have any money. I'm 
sure he regrets dying in our ward, but we 
just thought that even though he had no 
friends in the world, someone might offer 
him a little kindness on his way out of it." 

Her intensity was irresistible, and Mark 
recognized the hopelessness of getting rid 
of the box that night. 'As long as it's gone 
tomorrow," he said. A few amenities, and 
the conversation ended. Mark sat in his 
chair, staring angrily at the coffin. He had 
come home worried about his health and 
found a coffin to greet him when he arrived. 
Well, at least it explained why poor MaryJo 
had been so upset. He heard the children 
quarreling upstairs. Well, let MaryJo handle 
it, Their problems would take her mind off 
this box, anyway. 

And so he sat and stared at the coffin for 
two hours and had no dinner and did not 
particularly notice when MaryJo came 
downstairs and took the burned potatoes 
out of the pressure cooker and threw the 
entire dinner away and lay down on the sofa 
in the living room and wept. He watched the 
patterns- of the grain of the wood, as subtle 
as flames, winding along the coffin. He re- 
membered having taken naps at the age of 
five in a makeshift bedroom behind a 
plywood partition in his parents' small 
home. Watching the wood grain there had 
been his way of passing the empty, sleep- 
less hours. In those days he had been able 
to see shapes: clouds and faces and bat- 
tles and'monsters. But on the coffin the 
wood grain looked more complex and yet 
far more simple, A road map leading up- 
ward to the lid. A draft describing the de- 
composition of the body, A graph at the foot 
of the patient's bed, saying nothing to the 
patient but speaking death to the trained 
physician's mind. Mark wondered, briefly 
about the bishop, who was right now 
operating on someone who might very well 
end up in just such a box as this. 

And finally his eyes hurt, and he looked 
at the clock and felt guilty about having 
spent so much time closed off in his study 
on one of his few nights home early, He 
meant to get up and find MaryJo and take 
her up to bed. But instead he got up and 
went to the coffin and ran his hands along 
the wood. It felt like glass because the 
varnish was so thick and smooth. It was as 
if the living wood had to be kept away, pro- 
tected from the touch of a hand. But the 
wood was not alive, was it? It was being put 
into the ground, also to decompose. The 
varnish might keep it a little longer. He 
thought whimsically of what it would be like 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 133 




Promising new research 

may soon shield 

us from an age-old terror 



SHARK! 



BY KENNETH JON ROSE 



n suntanned young boy swimming 
with his friends is the first to spot the 
shark. He points to its brown dorsal 
fin only meters away. The other children 
turn and look. Unconsciously the boy's 
hand reaches toward a small device 
belted to his bathing suit; he relaxes, 
knowing that the sonic repeller is vibrating 
its protective song. He looks at his friends. 
They are laughing. On the hot, sandy 
beach the swimmers' mothers watch and 
smile, then rub on some more Shark Away 
before they enter the water. 

Elsewhere on choppy Pacific waters two 
stranded fliers drift in a small rubber raft 
and riffle through their emergency kit. 
Besides the usual food rations and 
medical supplies, they find a man-sized 
plastic shark bag and a small metal box 
containing a penlight battery and several 
spring-loaded electrodes. The two airmen 
glance at each other, their faces 
composed. The sharks are circling now. 
Yet the pilots know that, however long they 
must wait for help, they will be safe. 

Such incidents may actually happen in 
the next few years. Scientists have 
realized for quite some time that the shark 
is neither the mindless monster it's been 
made out to be nor a willful killer bent on 
the destruction of human lives, but merely 
another ani'maf, with common animal* 
instincts. This viewpoint has become more 
and more prevalent among biologists, and 





its greatest impact has been to open the 
way for the first effective shark repellent. 

Since they first ventured out on the sea, 
men have feared the shark. Sailors made 
"magical" devices to ward off the swim- 
ming terror, and though these contrivances 
may have pleased ancient gods, they 
served only as dessert for the sharks. 

In the last few decades we have made 
significant advances in our attempts to pro- 
tect ourselves from shark attack. Yet many 
recent means of defense, including nets, 
bubble barriers, and steel fences, have 
proved impractical, too expensive to main- 
tain, or simply unreliable. Now it appears 
that researchers have become more confi- 
dent that antishark defenses will be both 
effective and inexpensive in the not-too- 
distant future. Their assurance is based on 
a growing understanding of the shark's 
physical makeup and senses. 

Pretend that you are swimming and play- 
ing in the ocean at a summer resort. Half a 
kilometer away a shark hears your splash- 
ing and veers toward the beach- It is 
searching for food. 

Do not be surprised that the shark can 
sense you from such distances. The sound 
of your splashing is transmitted through 
water both faster and farther than it would 
be through air. Arthur Myberg and Donald 
Nelson, working at the University of Miami, 
in Florida, have found that, although sharks 
are sensitive to most ocean noises, they 
seem very interested in pulsed, low-fre- 
quency sounds. The intriguing thing is that 
low-frequency pulses are typical of the 
sounds made by struggling fish— or by 
swimming, splashing human beings. 

In one experiment Nelson placed a loud- 
speaker several meters under the ocean 
surface and played a sound he had dis- 
covered sharks found most attractive. 
Within minutes several gathered around 
the speaker, circling it as if it were lunch. 

Although Myberg and Nelson have yet to 
discover a sound that repels sharks in- 
stead of attracting them, a protective noise 
generator that could be attached to your 
bathing suit or installed to defend a bathing 
area is not out of the question. 

The shark is now 450 meters away from 
you. Unlike many sharks, it swims near the 
surface, its dorsal fin knifing the surf as it 
approaches you. 

The shark is not an intelligent animal, but 
it is a highly adaptable one. Why the shark 
did not die out with the dinosaurs has baf- 
fled the scientific community for years. Be- 
cause the shark's skeleton is composed of 
cartilage (the materia! that makes up the 
flexible framework of your ear), it decom- 
poses instead of being fossilized after the 
shark's death. Thus millions of years of evo- 
lutionary answers have been lost forever 
under tons of earth. However, harder re- 



From top left: Researchers capture, dissect, and 
strip the toxin from a Red Sea sole (also seen at 
right), whose potent nerve poison prevents 
sharks from biting down on their intended prey. 



mains, such as ancient sharks' teeth, tell a 
fascinating story — one that may give in- 
sights into our own future. 

The first chapter of shark history began 
more than 300 million years ago in the rest- 
less oceans of the Devonian Period. At that 
time, long before the appearance of dino- 
saurs and flowering plants, much of the 
land that now forms continents was under 
water. What little hot, dry land did exist was 
the site of fierce ecological competition 
among ferns and other vegetation. 

When the sharks arrived in this environ- 
ment, they were but a meter long, not yet 
the terror of the seas. These primitive 
sharks looked somewhat different from 
most of the sharks that range the oceans 
today. Modern sharks evolved from them, 
as modern man did from Neanderthal man. 

The shark survived because it could - 
generalize both its physical structure and 
its eating habits. When the environment 
changed, opportunities for shark survival 
greatly increased. In many ways their his- 
tory has paralleled our own. We have also 
changed with our surroundings. 

Several scientists have suggested that 
the shark's mating structures and behavior 
are more similar to those of mammals, and 
to our own, than to those of fish. During 
courtship, the male tries to get the female's 
attention by bumping into her and lightly 
biting the back of her head or the fins on her 
side. If he succeeds, the female will allow 
the male to swim belly to belly with her, 
much as whales position themselves in 
mating. Finally the male shark inserts one 
of two penislike appendages, called 
claspers, into the female, and life begins 
again. The ability of a supposedly primitive 
animal to mate as mammals do under- 
scores the method's success. 

Also surprisingly like humans, some 
sharks bear live young. Most are ovovivipa- 
rous; that is, the eggs are hatched inside 
the oviducts, and the hatchlings feed on 
their yolk. Several shark species lay thick, 
rubbery eggs on the ocean bottom and 
leave the hatchlings to the whims of the 
sea. But a few sharks, like the mammals, 
are viviparous; the eggs are hatched in the 
oviducts, but a placenta connects the em- 
bryos with their mother. In as little as nine or 
ten months as many as 70 baby sharks 
arrive in the world, equipped to hunt from 
their very first day. 

When the shark is within 400 meters or 
so, it has probably heated you by a sense 
of smell so acute that It has earned sharks 
the nickname '''swimming noses." The 
shark's nostrils, actually nasal capsules, 
are located just in front of the mouth , on the 
bottom of the flat snout. When the shark 
swims in its characteristic zigzag pattern, it 
is trying to expose both nasal capsules to 
the strongest odors, tracking its prey much 
as a bloodhound twists its head to sniff the 
air Sharks may pick up the scent of blood in 
amounts as low as 1 part in 25 million. 

During World War II the U.S. Navy in- 
vented what it thought was an effective re- 
pellent, confidently called Shark Chaser. 

84 OMNI 



Composed of black dye and copper ace- 
tate in a slowly dissolving tablet, the mix- 
ture eased the fears of pilots and Navy 
personnel, it did little else. The repellent, 
clearly effective on a few species of sharks 
in laboratory tanks, was tragically ineffec- 
tive in keeping away the wild sharks that 
really mattered. 

The main drawback with chemical repel- 
lents has been that after a while in the water 
they begin to lose their effectiveness. They 
soon become completely worthless. 

Recently something found in the Red 
Sea changed this picture. Eugenie Clark, 
of the University of Maryland, and other 
scientists discovered a fish that secretes 
the fastest-working poison found in the 
animal kingdom. The fish, a member of the 
sole family, emits a chemical that, even 
when diluted by 5,000 times its weight of 
water, can kill some aquatic life. Yet it is 
virtually harmless to humans. 

Clark and her colleagues have deter- 
mined that this chemical is an effective 



• Sharks are very sensitive 

to ocean noises. 
Pretend you are swimming 

in the sea: Haifa 

kilometer away a shark has 

heard you and 

is heading to the beach, 

searching for food. 5 



shark repellent. Watching a sole tethered 
underwater, they found that when a shark 
approached the fish, the shark's mouth 
locked open and could not bite down. 
Biochemists at Hebrew University in 
Jerusalem are now trying to synthesize the 
poison. When they succeed, it may be 
applied like suntan lotion. Perhaps it can 
even be incorporated into a bathing suit 

But how much chance is there that you 
will ever be attacked by a shark in the first 
place 9 If nothing else, the odds against 
shark attack are in your favor. Of the 4 billion 
people on this planet, only about 100 are 
attacked each year, and only 50 of these 
attacks prove fatal. More people are killed 
by venomous spiders than by sharks, and 
three times as many are killed by lightning. 

Not all sharks are man-eaters. Of the 
roughly 250 species of sharks in the world, 
only 27 are known to be dangerous. The 
two giants of the shark kingdom, the 12-me- 
ter basking shark and the 16-meter whale 
shark, are both harmless. They eat only the 
tiny life that drifts just under the ocean's 
surface. They very nearly resemble the ba- 
leen whale. There are several sharks that 
mature when they are as large as an adult's 



hand. One species that lives in the ocean's 
depths is only as large as a human finger. 
Perry Gilbert, a noted shark expert as- 
sociated with the Mote Marine Laboratory, 
in Sarasota, Florida, and with Cornell Uni- 
versity, has found that even man-eating 
sharks are really not interested in people as 
things to eat. Their diet consists principally 
of fish. But when a fish is struggling near a 
bather or is attached to a diver's belt, the 
story is different. The shark may well attack 
the swimmer because he or she is in the 
way of the real food. This is one reason why 
many people are attacked. Others may be 
attacked as intruders in the shark's territo- 
rial waters. Either way, the shark repellents 
now being developed may soon make such 
incidents things of the past. 

By the time the shark is within 30 meters 
of you, it has picked up the turbulent 
streams and vortices your swimming cre- 
ates in the water. It does so by means of a 
complex sense organ called the lateral line. 
Common to almost all fish, the lateral line 
consists of fine, liquid-filled channels that 
run under the skin of the head and sides of 
the body. Inside the channels, clusters of 
sensory cells, called neuromasts, connect 
to the outside through tiny pores. It is the 
neuromasts, which have small hairs reach- 
ing into the pores, that sense movement in 
the water. 

At 15 meters, the shark can clearly see 
your arms and legs flapping at the surface . 
The shark's eye is normally focused for 
long-distance vision. Unlike the lens of a 
human eye, its lens must be pulled forward 
to discern nearby objects. Eugenie Clark 
has found that sharks are highly sensitive to 
contrasts of light, shadow, and motion. 
They are not very good at picking out dark, 
stationary objects. She has even found that 
sharks can recognize different shapes. 
These sharks might be able to learn which 
target shapes have food behind them. 

Both the lateral line and the shark's vision 
can be fooled by a single device. Dr. Scott 
Johnson, working with the Navy, has in- 
vented a man-sized plastic bag that, drawn 
around a swimmer, is nearly 100-percent 
■ effective in preventing shark attack. 
Named the Johnson Shark Screen, the 
large, dark-colored sack is held partially 
out of the water by three air-fflled floats at 
the bag's opening. The bag helps contain 
the user's odors and movements, thus 
canceling out the shark's sense of smell, its 
lateral line, and its vision, and so protecting 
the swimmer inside. Still in the testing 
stage, the Johnson Shark Screen seems to 
promise an excellent defense for sailors 
and downed airplane pilots. 

The shark is now five meters away, its 
gray form bolting toward you, mouth open. 

The shark has a most impressive bite. 
One incredible example is the 2.5-meter 
dusky shark, which has a biting pressure of 
three metric tons per square centimeter. 

Then there is the matter of teeth. Shark 
"teeth" are really modified and enlarged 
placoid scales that move to the front of 
the jaws. Unlike the teeth of mammals and 



those of other fish, they are not set into the 
bone but are attached to the gums. The 
teeth form in rows, the row in front being 
used and five or more rows of replacement 
teeth waiting behind it. Shark's teeth don't 
wear down. Always moving, the rows slowly 
migrate like interlocking tombstones to- 
ward the front of the jaw, where they even- 
tually fall out. Within a lifetime a shark may 
produce thousands of teefh. A whole row 
can be replaced in as little as a week. Div- 
ers have reported finding high-tensile 
cable completely bitten through, with the 
unmistakable marks of sharks' teeth cut 
into the metal. 

Facing these weapons, how can you 
hope to get to shore safely if the shark 
decides to attack? For that matter, what 
makes the shark attack in the first place? 
Not long ago Adrianus Kalmijn, working 
at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, in 
Massachusetts, isolated one key factor that 
decides whether the shark will finally at- 
tack: Sharks have an electric sense. 

These sense organs line the shark's 
snout, looking like tiny pinholes. The holes 
communicate with an extensive system of 
jelly-filled canals just beneath the skin. 
Called the ampullae of Lorenzini, these 
canals can detect electrical fields as weak 
as one hundred-millionth of a volt per cen- 
timeter, a feat equal to detecting the 
electrical field of a flashlight battery with 
electrodes 1,600 kilometers apart in the 
ocean. 

Every living organism, including a human 
being, produces an electrical field in water. 
Sharks always associate an electrical field 
with their prey and can pinpoint their food 
with extreme accuracy even when it is 
buried and invisible under the sand. Al- 
though the electric sense is effective only 
within a few centimeters of the food, it is 
very reliable. With it, the shark can zero in 
on its prey when the odor and the light are 
too faint to detect it by smell or sight. 

Kalmijn has found that he can substitute 
the shark's regular prey with electrodes 
that look nothing like a fish but simulate a 
fish's electrical field. The sharks, dependent 
on the electrical signal of the prey will at- 
tack the electrodes over and over again. 

Though biophysicist Kalmijn is working 
with sharks solely to study their electrical 
orientation, the day may come when this 
sense is used to protect swimmers. A de- 
vice attached to your swimsuit could both 
warn when a shark is in the area and deploy 
electrodes around your body to confuse it 
while you slip out of the water unharmed. 
At three meters away from you, the shark 
suddenly turns and swims off, shaking its 
head violently. It will not return. You turn off 
the device on your bathing suit and head 
for shore . 

It seems reasonable to assume that an 
effective shark repellent will be made in the 
next few years. When that day arrives, you 
will be able to enter the water without fear of 
attack, and the shark, for so long the evil 
monster of the seas, will finally become just 
another fish. DO 




JACK NEWTON DANIEL made whiskey 
in 1866 by a method called charcoal leaching. 
We say charcoal mellowing today. 

Whatever you call it, you start with hard maple 
from the Tennessee uplands and burn it to char. 
You grind this charcoal to the size of small 
peas and tamp it tight in vats. Then you trickle 
whiskey down through the vats to mellow its 
taste. Around 1945 we 
changed the name of this 
method from leaching to 
mellowing. It seemed a 
better way of describing it. 
But that's the only part 
of Mr. Jack's process that 
needed improving. 




CHARCOAL 
MELLOWED 

h 
DROP 

6 

BY DROP 



Tennessee Whiskey • 90 Proof • Distilled and Bottled by Jack Daniel Distillery 

Lem Motlow, Prop., Inc., Lynchburg (Pop. 361), Tennessee 37352 

Placed in the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Government. 

85 



FICTION 

It Isn't easy to reach paradise, even when 

you devote all your 

hardest labor and guile to the task 

IMAM HEDGEHOG 



BY JOHN ANTHONY WEST 



It was Friday afternoon, pay- 
day. Fox was on his way to 
rip off the supermarket. But 
as he trotted along, his head 
full of new schemes, he was 
stopped in his tracks by a 
strange sight. 

Before him, stretching as far 
as he could see either to the 
rioht or to the left, there was a 
hfgh wall. At the base of this 
wall Hedgehog was digging 
furiously. 

Now Fox knew that Hedge- 
hog was a prickly customer, 
edible only under extreme 
duress, and then only by pay- 
ing assiduous care to culinary 
technique. 

"Outasight, Pricklypork!" 
said Fox with familiarity and a 
hint of derision. "Would you 
mind telling me what you're at, 
Man?" 

Knowing his low rating on 
the gourmand scale, Hedge- 
hog had no fear. Without ceas- 
ing his furious digging, he 
said, "Trying to get to the other 
side, Man. Obviously." 



"Far out!" said Fox. "But 
you'll never get there that way, 
Man! That wall is made of solid 
stone. On reinforced concrete 
foundations. Cant you read 
Man?" Fox pointed to a sign on 
the wall, slightly to the left. 

Because Hedgehog always 
looked straight ahead, he had 
never noticed the sign. It read: 

This wall is guaranteed 
against hurricane, earth- 
quake, holocaust, flood, and 
all acts of God. 
This wall is guaranteed 
against battering rams, artil- 
lery, napalm, nuclear attack, 
and all acts of Man 
This wall is guaranteed to 
withstand seven days' march 
about its perimeter and sub- 
sequent trumpet blast. 
This wall is guaranteed ter- 
mite- and hedgehog-proof. 

Adam and Sons, Ltd., 
Bldg. Contractors. 

"Builders will say anything," 
Hedgehog replied calmly. 
"And 1 am determined to get to 

PAINTING BY ERIC PAETZ 



the other side." He resumed 
his digging. 

But now Fox was intrigued,_ 
though it was getting late, and' 
the supermarket would soon 
be emptying out. 

"Hey, Man! What do you 
want to get to the other side for, 
when all the good things of life 
are over here? Rabbits in the 
hedges, Man! Fridays, payday, 
supermarket jammed. You can 
rip off anything you want. Ev- 
erywhere you look, little vixens 
twitch their bushy tails!" He 
pointed knowingly at his head. 
"Use your tuchis, Man. You can 
make all the bread you need 
without even working!" 

Hedgehog did not under- 
stand this latter allusion, and 
Fox explained contemptuous- 
ly. "You don't know that old one, 
Man? Like there are these two 
Irishmen, dig? Pat and Mike. 
They both open shops in the 
Jewish quarter. Pat goes 
broke. Mike gets rich. Bank- 
ruptcy sale closes Pat down. 
Pat goes to Mike. Says, 'How 




do you stay in business, Man, dealing with 
all those smart Jews?' Ah! ! says Mike, and 
he points to his head. 'Sure and begorrah, 
'tis easy All you have to do is to use your 
tuchis.' " 

Hedgehog was unamused and con- 
tinued digging. "Don't fancy rabbit," he re- 
plied, "It is dishonest to rip off the super- 
market. Besides, I'm so slow on my feet, I'd 
get caught. Vixens hold little attraction for 
the likes of me. nor am ! interested in mak- 
ing a lot of bread." 

"Chacun a son gout, Man," Fox said 
amiably. "But I still don't see why you want 
to get to the other side." 

"That is the Garden of Eridu," said 
Hedgehog, digging. 

"Far out!" said Fox, for lack of anything 
better to say. For he considered 
Hedgehog's reply unsatisfactory if not de- 
liberately irrelevant. "What is there, then, in 
this Garden of Eridu that we do not already 
have on this side?" he asked, mimicking 
Hedgehog's somewhat stilted syntax. 

"The question." said Hedgehog, "is in- 
auspiciously phrased. Ask instead: What is 
there not in the Garden of Eridu that there Is 
on this side? In the Garden of Eridu there is 
no Time." 

This made Fox stop to think. For just a 
moment the schemes that were always rac- 
ing through his head came to a halt. Upon 
reflection, he wearied of rabbit. There was 
little kick left in ripping off the supermarket, 
since the food was full of chemicals and 



additives. Vixens? Well, vixens were a prob- 
lem. But when you came right down to the 
nitty-gritty, they were all pretty much the 
same. And the bread was worth less by the 
year, even if you used your tuchis. It looked 
as if there would soon be a change of cli- 
mate 

Strange, thought Fox, that though he 
knew so much, no one had ever mentioned 
the Garden of Eridu. Nor in all his comings 
and goings had he ever noticed the long, 
high wall. "But," he said to Hedgehog, "I'll 
tell you this, Amigo'. You'll never get to the 
other side by digging. We must find a way 
over the top. My curiosity has now been 
aroused. Follow me, and we'll find a way, 
Man!" 

"Cool," said Hedgehdg, and he stopped 
digging long enough to watch Fox leap 
mightily in the air, hoping to catch the top 
ledge and hoist himself over. But high as he 
leaped, he could not even see the top. He 
vaulted again and again, each time higher, 
but in vain. 

"You see? Not so easy," said Hedgehog, 
and he began to dig again. 

Fox waited till he caught his breath, and 
immediately he hatched a new scheme. 

He trotted over to a builder's merchant 
and asked the boss for professional ad- 
vice. Now the boss was something of a 
jackass and loved to hear himself bray pro- 
fessionally. After a lengthy diagnosis, he 
recommended a scaling ladder of appro- 
priate height. But Fox declared that carry- 




ing a heavy ladder through a public street 
was an ungentlemanly occupation for afox. 
He had an easier solution. And he asked 
the builder's merchant for a long length of 
best-quality, groovy-colored nylon rope 
and some grappling hooks. 

Because the boss was a jackass, he 
turned his back on Fox and went up to the 
stores to fetch the rope. No sooner had he 
gone than Fox availed himself of the 
longest ladder in the shop and trundled It 
off to join Hedgehog at the wall. 

However, despite knowledgeable calcu- 
lations, Fox had again misjudged the 
height of the wall. The ladder was nowhere 
nearly high enough. 

Pondering what to try next, Fox was inter- 
rupted by the sound of a passing helicop- 
ter, out on traffic patrol. Immediately Fox 
had a scheme 

While at the builder's merchant's, he had 
also managed to acguire a pocketful of 
handy tools. Now, with screwdriver, pliers. 
and soldering iron, he swiftly converted the 
Revox tape recorder that he always carried 
with him into a two-way radio, attracted the 
attention of the chopper pilot, and bedaz- 
zled him with a story— a story so eloquent, 
so plausible, so rich in convincing detail 
that no one could doubt its veracity. 

Briefly Fox claimed that he was a resi- 
dent of Eridu who, while away on a com- 
bined business/pleasure trip, had been 
accosted by tattooed yobboes on motor- 
bikes (Fox described each yobbo minutely, 
quoted their tattoos, and cited the engine 
capacities and makes of their bikes). His 
passport had been stolen. And now, trying 
to get back home, he found they had also 
taken his key. Would he. the chopper pilot, 
therefore drop a lifeline to him, and give him 
a hoist over the wall— for an ample remu- 
neration, of course'' 

But when the pilot looked, he could not 
seethe garden, nor even the wall. At first he 
tried to discern Fox's motives, which he 
knew to be invariably ulterior, and then he 
thought that maybe Fox was just on a bum 
trip. But he was too busy trying to unsnarl 
an interminable traffic jam to delve into the 
matter. He. too, was concerned about at- 
mospheric conditions, and he was anxious 
to get back to base in time for tea. Cutting 
Fox off the transmitter, he flew the chopper 
on its way. 

It was finally clear to Fox that neither 
brute force nor guile nor even creative 
imagination would get him over the wall. 
Fox spoke sharply to Hedgehog, who was 
distracting him by pointing to a tiny chip of 
concrete that he had at last succeeded in 
dislodging. 

Fox dreamed up another, still more au- 
dacious scheme. He would resort to 
magic. He trotted along to a bookshop 
where he often browsed but seldom made 
a purchase 

Now this bookshop, like all bookshops, 
could not make money selling literature, 
and it stayed- in business only by peddling 
porn. But the bookstore owner was a sly old 



dog. He knew that if he took his eyes off 
Fox, even for a minute, to fetch a set of 
_r "ose amazing Dutch playing cards out 
Tom under the counter — where the hard- 
core stuff was kept — Fox would have 
something else. So he said he was out of 
stock. 

Fox accepted this explanation with typi- 
cal sangfroid and sauntered over to the 
kiddies' department to chat up the pert 
little vixen there. 

But she had been warned about Fox. So 
when he told her she had the sharpest, 
wettest, blackest little nose he had ever 
seen, and the beadiest eyes, and the 
bushiest tail in the world, she blushed 
nicely, but she said, "No way, Man!" She 
declined his invitation to meet her in the 
classics department — where nobody ever 
went. 

Lighting a Turkish cigarette in a long, 
amber holder, and blowing the smoke out in 
blue streams through his nostrils, Fox 
begged her to allow him to clear up an 
evident misunderstanding. 

For he was not your everyday, run-of- 
the-mill Freddy Fox, of whom she should 
rightly beware, he said. Rather he was your 
actual Twentieth-Century Fox, in person. 
"Just call me Twentieth-Century/' he said 
breezily. And he was, he said, out on a 
rekky, looking for the right someone to star 
in his new musical version of Snow White 
and the Seven Dwarfs. 

This cast the matter in a new perspec- 
tive. The little vixen knew precisely what 
Hollywood would do with Snow White, and 
she had no objection to the full frontals. But 
she hoped that, if she got the part, maybe 
they'd find a double for theclose-up work 
with the dwarfs. She readily assented to 
meet Fox after hours for a screen test and 
to bring along the book of fairy tales he 
requested so that they could run through 
some scenes. 

She went at the screen test with so much 
artistry that they did several takes, momen- 
tarily distracting Fox. But at last he sent the 
little vixen packing, giving her a duff check 
to buy a plane ticket to L.A. and promising 
her that, with her talent, she would soon be 
a great star. 

He flipped through the fairy-tale book till 
he came to the one about Jack and the 
beanstalk. He plucked some seeds from 
one of the illustrations, then scattered them 
on the ground in front of the wall. 

"Now you just watch this, Man!" he coun- 
seled the skeptical Hedgehog. 

At first nothing happened. Then Fox wa- 
tered the seed,s with the sweat off 
Hedgehog's brow, with the tears of his own 
impatience, and with a bottle of vintage 
champagne he'd ripped off from the 
supermarket and was saving for a special 
occasion. In a trice the beanstalk grew as 
high as the eye could see. But Fox had no 
time to stand around admiring the horticul- 
ture; there was something in the air. Nimbly 
he scampered up the beanstalk, oblivious 
of the jet planes roaring past him. 

Fox climbed and climbed. But no matter 



how high he climbed, the top of the wall that 
kept him from the Garden of Endu was still 
higher, and out of reach. And as he 
climbed, he realized that he had been so 
busy trying at all costs to get to the top that 
he had quite forgotten his original compel- 
ling reason to do so. In a flash of intuition, 
he understood that climbing was not 
enough; it was essential to know the reason 
for climbing as well. And for that he needed 
Hedgehog's counsel. 

Assuming that Hedgehog was climbing 
right behind him, he looked down, intend- 
ing to ask why it was that they were there. To 
his astonishment, Hedgehog was nowhere 
to be seen. 

Squinting, and looking far, far down, Fox 
could just make out a tiny shape scrabbling 
away at the base of the wall. 

The signs to the west were ominous. Fox 
virtually flew down the beanstalk to where 
Hedgehog was digging. 

With unhurried solemnity Hedgehog ex- 
plained that he had lost patience with Fox's 
wild schemes; he had decided that Fox 
was just up to his usual shenanigans, and 
he had therefore gone back to doing the 
only thing he knew how to do, which was to 
burrow away at the wall. 

Fox was beside himself with impatience. 
"Yes, Man, I'm with you. I know all that! But 
why the devil do we want to go there in the 
first place?" 

"Go where?" Hedgehog asked, steadily 
digging. 



Fox was jumping up and down, he was 
so exasperated. "Into the garden, Man! 
Into the Garden of Eridu!" 

"How many times do I have to explain it to 
you," Hedgehog replied, rhetorically, 
pedantically, unhurriedly "Because in the 
Garden of Eridu there is no Time." 

Fox clapped a hand to his forehead his- 
trionically. "Far out! I knew there was a 
good reason !" he shouted. "Come on, Man, 
shake it!" 

Something was really going on in the dis- 
tance now, but Hedgehog had launched 
into a philosophical and psychological ex- 
planation of the significance of the Garden 
of Eridu and of the importance of his quest. 

Fox cut him short and, taking him by the 
paw, led him swiftly up the beanstalk to the 
top. But as they stepped out onto the wall 
that separated She garden from where they 
had always been, Hedgehog balked. He 
had never been off the ground before, and 
now he suddenly discovered he was afraid 
of heights. Before taking the plunge, he 
wanted to discuss the implications of this 
newly discovered aspect of his character. 
Unceremoniously Fox pushed him off the 
wall and, taking a deep breath, jumped 
after. And from the timeless safety of the 
Garden of Eridu they watched as the west- 
ern sky was rocked by a light that was not 
lightning, rent by a sound that was not 
thunder, and clouds from which no rain fell 
billowed high in the air, completely obscur- 
ing the distant horizon. DO 







lyiccPgE Sipg^Q 







ALOFT 



weekend astronauts 



Rainbow-colored monsters fill the skies. Flying 
spheres, eight stories tall, glide serenely downwind. 

No web of contrails; no whine of engines. Just 

acres of nylon and the occasional hiss of a propane 

burner— the dragon's breath that keeps these giants aloft. 

PHOTOGRAPHS BY SEBASTIAN BASTEL 




Ballooning is, perhaps, 

st thing to space travel. 1 




Ballooning is, perhaps, the closest thing to space travel. Aloft 

in a balloon, you are exhilarated by the view— and 

the quiet. You look down from a majestic silence, broken only 

by periodic blasts of propane (maneuvering 

rockets?). There is no sense of motion; the world seems to 

turn beneath you. 



• Slowly the hot air -escapes 

from the envelope, and the balloon sinks to 

the ground, a writhing, dying dinosaur. 9 





ut if balloon flight is as grand as spaceflight, landing is as 
undignified. You either splash down or bump 
down— the same choice you have in a space capsule. The 

basket hits, bounces, drags, finally stops. Slowly the 

hot air escapes from the envelope, and the balloon sinks to 

the ground, a writhing, dying dinosaur. 




Modern hot-air ballooning and manned spaceflight began in 

the same year. In 1961, when astronauts Yuri 

Gagarin and Alan Shepard lifted off, inventor Ed Yost 

test-flew the first propane- powered aerostat. Today 

it's not unusual to see half a dozen balloons in a Saturday 

morning sky. At the 1978 Albuquerque (New Mexico) 

International Balloon Fiesta (where these photos were shot), 

270 balloons launched simultaneously, the largest 

assemblage of aerostats ever. 

Why this soaring interest in aeronautics? The 

answer is the same as for astronautics, although there is no 

rationale of "terrestrial applications." Samuel 

Johnson put it this way in 1 759 as man was about to leave the 

earth in machines of his own devising: "I have long 

been of the opinion . . . that the fields of air are open to 

knowledge, and that only ignorance and idleness 

need crawl upon the ground." 



4 The fields of air are open to . . 
knowledge . . . only ignorance and idleness 
-need crawl upon the ground. 3 



It was radical, it was daring, 
but mostly it was cheap 

VMGHGOND 



BY DAVID SEARLS 

On March 2, 1979, a rectangular U.S. 

spacecraft nicknamed "Van" went into 

orbit around Earth, third planetfrom the 

sun and our nearest neighbor in the solar 

system. Overthe next several days "Van" 

released three sophisticated probes — one 

to study the planet's "wetside," one tor the 

"dryside," and an orbiter intended to skim 

the surface once every tew years. 

This was the very modest Vagabond 

Mission, the first such exploration of the 

blue planet and an effort that has since 

forced scientists to rethink long-held 

assumptions about the origin and 

composition of all we know, "It's 

back to the drawing room!" exclaims 

Dr. OzmoZdilmidgi, Vagabond Mission 

project director at the U.S. Thought 

Propulsion Laboratory (TPL), prime 

contractor for the mission, "The old facts 

are out the window. It will take years of ' 

interpretation to replace them." 

This is hardly what anybody expected 

before the mission began. Given 

Dregg's law — that findings increase 

PAINTING BY DEAN ELLIS 




as the square root of fundings— Vagabond 
should have produced only a lew short jobs 
and some dull articles in obscure journals. 
By the time Vagabond came around to 
dip from the river of federal funds for plane- 
tary exploration, that once-broad stream 
had slowed to a trickle. When its cup was 
filled, Vagabond's budget was a mere 
$199,999.99— almost a billion dollars less 
than the Viking Mission to Mars and 
$277,999,800.01 less than the Pioneer 
Mission to Venus. 

"Most of that was for parrs," Zdilmidgi 
complains. "We had to cover labor costs 
with.extra hours and grant money for barely 
related humanities projects." 

With so little funding, the TPL was forced 
to scrap long-established plans for explor- 
ing the little-known outer planets and to 
concentrate on more convenient bodies. 
So TPL lowered its horizons. All the way. 
"Earth was about the only choice," Zdil- 
midgi says. "Everything else was too far 
away and too damned expensive, except 
maybe the moon. And who wants to go 
there 9 We've been there about six times, 
and it always looks like Winnemucca. Or is 
it Elko? I forget which." 

Despite talent and time as short as the 
money, Zdilmidgi and his associates man- 
aged to put together virtually all the mission 
hardware in a matter of months. Although 
credit must be given to the mission staff, 
the project owes much to what must be the 
most resourceful subcontracting in the his- 
tory of space exploration. 

"Van." the mother orbiter, was developed 
with assistance from a top-flight southern 
California custom shop. It was built on a 
Dodge chassis and came equipped with a 
40-channel CB radio. 

"Martin," the wetside probe, followed 
designs supplied by a consortium of prom- 
inent beverage retailers. 

"Beans," the dryside lander, was devel- 
oped almost entirely by American Tourista 
Corp. (The lander was named after Dr. 
Zdilmidgi's pet cat, the unfortunate victim 
of a suitcaselike prototype dropped from 
an airplane.) 

"Rosebud," the sledlike orbiter, was sub- 
contracted entirely to a sixth-grade class in 
Monktumi, Idaho, 

The entire payload was shipped to Cape 
Canaveral, where it was assembled on site 
by volunteer experts from the local Geezer 
Lake Rotary Club. The launch vehicle, an 
Eastes mccclxiv, was an untested 476- 
stage configuration— the largest and most 
complex design in Eastes's history. 

The launching took place on a gray win- 
ter dawn from the rarely used Pad .07, ac- 
tually a reserved parking space specially 
converted for mission requirements. Min- 
utes later "Van" achieved sky orbit. 

After weeks of careful procrastination, 
"Martin" dropped through "Van'"s trap- 
door and descended toward Earth's blue 
expanse. """ - 

It marked the beginning of the end for 
modern cosmology. 
Halfway down, "Martin" 's sensitive in- 

100 OMNI 



struments detected yeast in the atmo- 
sphere. This was auspicious news. "This 
indicates the possibility not only of life," 
Zdilmidgi said at the time, "but of food and 
drink as well." 

This likelihood seemed more certain 
when the probe's transmissions became 
slurred and incoherent just before plop- 
down. It seemed all the more convincing 
when "Martin" detected concentrations of 
salt and other spices on the planet's wet 
surface. No doubt remained when "Mar- 
tin" 's transmissions ended abruptly. 

"Obviously," Zdilmidgi says, "Martin was 
eaten." 

Equally striking findings were returned 
by "Beans," which followed "Martin" out 
"Van"'s trapdoor and into history. After 
bouncing across half a continent, "Beans" 
came to rest in the planet's Sun Belt. After 
checking its innards to verify that every sys- 
tem had survived the landing, "Beans" 
aimed its camera at the surface and took 1 2 
pictures. Only one could be developed. 



4 Halfway down, sensitive 
instruments detected yeast in 

the atmosphere. It 

was auspicious news. "This 

. indicates the possibility 

not only of life," said 

Dr. Zdilmidgi, "but 

of food and drink as well." 3 



J. Ralph Sea, president of Poranoid 
Corp., prime subconlractor for the dryside 
lander photographic project, claims that 
this disappointment conforms with mission 
guidelines. 

"Hey, come on," he says. "We did this job 
■for a lousy ninety-two dollars and twelve 
cents. And we're talking about a camera 
here. You bounce it across half a continent 
and you expect perfection? Besides, those 
creeps haven't even paid us yet." 

American Tourista Corp., which built 
"Beans," offers a less vigorous defense. A 
company memo reads: "Frankly, we de- 
signed the vehicle to hold clothes and 
eggs. Cameras are another matter." 

The marginal results obtained from the 
single usable photo were computer-en- 
hanced to supply details missing from the 
original. The enhancement software was 
developed by TPL staffers. The $88.44 cost 
was paid for by that amount withheld from 
Poranoid Corp. to compensate for the 11 
shots that failed to come out. 

The enhanced photo shows a stark as- 
phalt-and-g ravel plain topped by a ventlike 
'protrusion. Fumes can be seen escaping 
from the vent, indicating an active surface. 



The third probe, "Rosebud," did not fol- 
low its companions directly to the earth's 
surface'. Instead it headed away into space 
on a highly unusual path that should bring it 
back within inches of the planet's surface 
once every nine years, if all goes well. The 
first flyby is scheduled for 1988. 

"Rosebud" followsJhe most severely el- 
liptical orbit in the history of spaceflight, if 
not in the history of Newtonian physics. Its 
control calculations are extremely precise. 
Dr. DusardEggborn, chief orbital specialist 
at TPL, explains: "We're dealing with a very 
small window here. This baby comes 
screaming in from space, scoops up some 
samples, and zooms -off into space again. If 
she comes in too low, she can damage the 
planet; too high, and we're out of business 
for another nine years. I mean we're hilling 
about Mach ninety at flyby. Couple inches ■_ 
off either way, and we're cooked for sure." 
Even without "Rosebud" "s contributions, 
the Vagabond Mission has already pro- 
vided enough information to make scien- 
tists take another look at what the world is, 
what it is made of, and how long it has been 
around. 

In the few shorl months since "Martin" 
and "Beans" delivered their startling find- 
ings, several new theories have developed 
concerning the origin, composition, and 
age of the universe. 

Dr. Clark Safeway, famous astronomer 
and personality from Cornwell University 
and special consultant for media affairs at 
TPL, summarizes these new cosmologies. 
"It is clear by now," he says, "that the uni- 
verse was formed by a baking process, a ' 
brewing process, or some combination of 
both. 

"Most scientists now hold to the Large 
Loaf theory. This model assumes that the 
universe rose from afortuitous combination 
of primordial yeast and grain by-products. 
"A substantial minority believes that the 
Large Loaf model cannot account for the 
quantity of alcohol present in the universe. 
This group instead subscribes to the Big 
Brew theory, which presumes the a priori 
existence of alcohol, perhaps as a product 
of an earlier expired universe. Big Brew 
proponents believe that the universe 
began with a giant party and that matter 
has been having a good time ever since. 

"There are some who point to inconsis- 
tencies in data returned by both Vagabond 
probes and by space probes in general. 
These scientists belong to the Unsteady 
State school. In the words of one Unsteady 
State adherent: 'We don't know where it 
came from or where it's going, but we do 
know that it won't stand still at all.' " 

Whatever the subtle disagreements, all 
three factions concur, on one important 
point — the true age of trie universe. They all 
place the time of creation at about 400 
years ago. While this figure seems at vari- 
ance with most of accepted history, Safe- 
way sees no problem. 

"What we need," he says, "is a theory of 
history that is consistent with our opinions 
about the origin of the universe. "DO 



SANDKINGS 



rising in about three weeks." 

'And my face? When will they carve my 
lace''" 

"Turn on the hologram after about a 
month," she advised him, "and be patient. 
If you have any questions, please call. Wo 
and Shade are at your service." She bowed 
and left. 

Kress wandered back to the tank and lit a 
joy stick. The desert was still and empty He 
drummed his fingers impatiently against 
the plastic and frowned. 

On the fourth day Kress thought he 
glimpsed motion beneath the sand — 
subtle subterranean stirrings. 

On the fifth day he saw his first mobile, a 
lone white. 

On the sixth day he counted a dozen of 
them, whites and reds and blacks. The 
oranges were tardy. He cycled through a 
bowl of half-decayed table scraps. The 
mobiles sensed it at once, rushed to it, and 
began to drag pieces back to their respec- 
tive corners. Each color group was highly 
organized. They did not fight. Kress was a 
bit disappointed, but he decided to give 
them time. 

The oranges made their appearance on 
the eighth day. By then the other sandkings 
had begun carrying small stones and 
erecting crude fortificalions. They still did 
not war. At the moment they were only half 
the size of those he had seen at Wo and 
Shade's, but Kress thought they were grow- 
ing rapidly, 

The castles began to rise midway 
through the second week. Organized bat- 
talions of mobiles dragged heavy chunks 
of sandstone and granite back to their cor- 
ners, where other mobiles were pushing 
sand into place with mandibles and ten- 
drils. Kress had purchased a pair of mag- 
nifying goggles so that he could watch 
them work wherever they might go in the 
iank. He wandered around and around the 
tall plastic walls, observing. It was fascinat- 
ing. 

The castles were a bit plainer than 
Kress would have liked, bui he had an idea 
aboutthat The next day he. cycled through 
some obsidian and flakes of colored glass 
along with the food. Within hours they had 
been incorporated into the castle walls. 

The black castle was the first completed, 
followed by the white and red fortresses, 
The oranges were last, as usual. Kress took 
his meals into the living room and ate, 
seated on the couch so he could watch. He 
expected the first war to break out any hour 

He was disappointed. Days passed, the 
castles grew taller and more grand, and 
Kress, seldom left the tankexcepl to attend 
lo his sanitary needs and to answer critical 
business calls. But the sandkings did not 
war. He was getting upset. 

Finally he stopper! feeding them. 



Two days after the table scraps had 
ceased to fall from their desert sky, four 
black mobiles surrounded an orange and 
dragged it back to their maw. They maimed 
it first, ripping off its mandibles and anten- 
nae and limbs, and carried it through the 
shadowed main gate of their' miniature cas- 
tle. It never emerged. Within an hour more 
than forty orange mobiles marched across 
the sand and attacked the blacks' corner. 
They were outnumbered by the blacks that 
came rushing up from the depths. When 
the fighting was over, the attackers had 
been slaughtered. The dead and dying 
were taken down to feed the black maw. 

Kress, delighted, congratulated himself 
on his genius. 

When he put food into the tank the follow- 
ing day, a three-cornered battle broke out 
over its possession. The whites were the 
big winners. 

After that, war followed war. 

Almost a month to the day after Jala Wo 
had delivered the sandkings, Kress turned 
on the holographic projector, and his face 
materialized in the tank, It turned, slowly, 
around and around, so that his gaze fell on 
all four castles equally. Kress thought it 
rather a good likeness; it had his impish 
grin, wide mouth, full cheeks. His blue eyes 
sparkled, his gray hair was carefully ar- 
rayed in a fashionable sidesweep, his 
eyebrows were thin and sophisticated. 

Soon enough the sandkings set to work. 



Kress fed them lavisniy while his image 
beamed down at them from their sky. Tem- 
porarily the wars stopped, All activity was 
directed toward worship.... 

His face emerged oh the castle walls. 

At first all four carvings looked alike to 
him, but as. the work continued and Kress 
studied the reproductions, he began to de- 
tect subtle differences in technique and 
execution. The reds were the most creative, 
using tiny flakes of slate to put the gray in 
his hair The white idol seemed young and 
mischievous to him, while the face shaped 
by the blacks — although virtually the 
same, line for line — struck him as wise and 
benevolent. The orange sandkings. as 
usual , were last and least. The wars had not 
gone well for them, and their castle was sad 
compared to those. of the others. The image 
they carved was crude and cartoonish, 
and they seemed to intend to leave it this 
way. When they stopped work on the face, 
Kress grew quite piqued with them, but 
there really was nothing he could do. 

When all of the sandkings had finished 
their Kress faces, he turned off the projec- 
tor and decided that it was time to have a 
party. His friends would be impressed. 
He could even stage a war for them, 
he thought. Humming happily to himself, 
he began drawing up a guest list. 

The party was a wild success. 
Kress invited thirty people; a handful of 
close friends who shared his amusements, 




a few former lovers, and a collection of 
business and social rivals who could not 
afford to ignore his summons. He knew 
some of them would be discomfited and 
even offended by his sandkings. He 
counted on it. He customarily considered 
his parties a failure unless at least one 
guest walked out in high dudgeon. 

On impulse he added Jala Wo's name to 
his list. "Bring Shade if you like," he added 
when he dictated the invitation to her. 

Her acceptance surprised him just a bit: 
"Shade, alas, will be unable to altend. He 
does not go to social functions. As for my- 
self , I look forward to the chance to see how 
your sandkings are doing." 

Kress ordered a sumptuous meal. 
Ahd when at last the conversation had 
died down and most of his guests had 
gotten silly on wine and joy sticks, he 
shocked Ihem by personally scraping their 
table leavings into a large bowl. "Come-, all 
of you," he commanded. "I want to intro- 
duce you to my newest pets." Carrying the 
bowl, he conducted them into his living 
room. 

The sandkings lived up lo his fondest 
expectations. He had starved them for two 
days in preparation, and they were in a 
fighting mood. While the guests ringed the 
tank, looking through the magnifying 
glasses that Kress had thoughtfully pro- 
vided, the sandkings waged a glorious bat- 
tle over the scraps. He counted almost sixty 
dead mobiles when the struggle was over 
The reds and whites, which had recently 
formed an alliance, came off with most of 
Ihe food. 

"Kress, you're disgusting," Cath m'Lane 
told him. She had lived with him for a short 
time two years before, until her soppy sen- 
timentality almost drove him mad. "I was a 
fool to come back here. I thought perhaps 
you'd changed and wanted to apologize." 
She had never forgiven him for the time his 
shamble.r had eaten an excessively cute 
puppy of which she had been tond. "Don't 
ever, invite me here again, Simon." She 
strode out, accompanied by her current 
lover, to a chorus of laughter. 

Kress's other guests were full of gues-' 
tions. 

Where did Ihe sandkings come from? 
they wanted to know. "From Wo and Shade, 
Importers," he replied, with a polite geslure 
toward Jala Wo, who had remained quiet 
and apart throughout most of the evening. 

Why did they decorate their castles with 
his likeness? "Because I am the source of 
all good things. Surely you know that?" This 
retort brought a round of chuckles. 

Will they fight again? "Of course, but not 
tonight. Don't worry. There will be other par- 
ties." 

Jad Rakkis, who was an amateur 
xenologist, began talking about other so- 
cial insecls and the wars they fought, 
"These sandkings are amusing, but noth- 
ing really. You ought to read about Terran 
soldier ants, for instance." 

"Sandkings are not insects," Jala Wo 
said sharply, but Jad was oif and running, 

1D2 OMNI 



and no one paid her the slightest attention. 
Kress smiled at her and shrugged. 

Malada Blane suggesled they have a 
betting pool the next time they got together 
to watch a war, and everyone was taken 
with the idea. An animated discussion 
about rules and odds ensued. It lasted for 
almost an hour Finally the guests began to 
take their leave. 

Jala Wo was the last to depart. "So," 
Kress said to her when they were alone, "it 
appears my sandkings are a hit." 

"They are doing well," Wo said. "Already 
they are larger than my own." 

"Yes," Kress said, "except for the 
oranges." 

"I had noticed that," Wo replied. "They 
seem few in number, and their castle is 
shabby." 

"Well, someone must lose," Kress said. 
"The oranges were late to emerge and get 
established. They have suffered for it." 

"Pardon," said Wo, "but might I ask if you 
are feeding your sandkings sufficiently?" 



QThe attacking 
sandkings washed over the 

spider. Mandibles 

snapped shut on legs and 

- abdomen, and clung. 

One of them found an eye . . . 

ripped it loose. ... 
Kress smiled and pointed '3 



Kress shrugged. "They diet from time to 
time. It makes them fiercer." 

She frowned. "There is no need to starve 
them. Let them war in their own time, for 
their own reasons. It is their nature, and you 
will wilness conflicts that are delightfully 
subtle and complex. The constant war 
brought on by hunger is artless and de- 
grading." 

Kress repaid Wo's frown with interest. 
"You are in my house, Wo, and here I am the 
judge of what is degrading. I fed Ihe sand- 
kings as you advised, and they did not 
fight." 

"You must have patience." 

"No," Kress said. "I am their master and 
their god, after all. Why should I wait on 
their impulses 7 They did not war often 
enough to suit me. I have corrected the 
situation." 

"I see," said.Wo. "I will discuss the matter 
with Shade." 

"It is none of your concern, or his," Kress 
snapped. 

"I must bid you good-night, then," Wo 
said with resignation. But as she slipped 
into her coat to leave, she fixed him with a 
final, -disapproving stare. "Look to your 



faces, Simon Kress," she warned him. 
"Look to your faces." And she departed. 

Puzzled, he wandered back to the tank 
and stared at the castles. His faces were 
still there, as ever. Except— he snalched up 
his magnifying goggles and slipped them 
on. He studied the faces for long moments. 
Even then exactly whaT it was, was hard to 
make out. But it seemed to him that the 
expression on the faces had changed 
slightly, that his smile was somehow twisted 
so that it seemed a touch malicious. But it 
was a very subtle change — if it was a 
change at all. Kress finally put it down to his 
suggestibility, and he resolved not to invite 
Jala Wo to any more of his gatherings. 

Over the next few months Kress and 
about a dozen of his favorites got together 
weekly for what he liked to call his "war 

games." Now that his initial fascination with 
the sandkings was past, Kress spent less 
time around his tank and more on his busi- 
ness affairs and his social life, but he still 
enjoyed having a few friends over for a war 
or two. He kept the combatants sharp on a 
constant edge of hunger. It had severe ef- 
fects on the orange sandkings, which 
dwindled visibly until Kress began to won- 
der whether their maw was dead. But the 
others did well enough. 

Sometimes at night when he could not 
sleep, Kress would take a bottle of wine into 
the living room, where the red gloom of his 
miniature desert provided the only light. He 
would drink and watch for hours, alone. 
There was usually a fight going on some- 
where; when there was not, he could easily 
start one by dropping some small morsel of 
food into the tank. 

Kress's companions began betting on 
the weekly battles, as Malada Blane had 
suggested. Kress won a goodly amount by 
betting on the whites, which had become 
the most powerful and most numerous col- 
ony in the tank and which had Ihe grandest 
castle. One week he slid the corner of the 
tank top aside, and he dropped the food 
close to the white castle instead of on the 
central battleground, where he usually let 
food fall. So the others had to attack the 
whites in their stronghold to get any iood at 
all. They tried. The whites were brilliant in 
defense. Kress won a hundred standards 
from Jad Rakkis. 

Rakkis, in fact, lost heavily on the sand- 
kings almost every week. He pretended to 
a vast knowledge of them and their ways, 
claiming that he had studied them after the 
first party, but he had no luck when it came 
lo placing his bets. Kress suspected that 
Jad's claims were empty boasting. He had 
tried to studythe sandkings a bit himself, in 
a moment of idle curiosity, tying in to the 
library to find out what world his pets origi- 
nally came from. But the library had no 
listing for sandkings. He wanted to get in 
touch with Wo and ask her about it, but he 
had other concerns, and the matter kept 
slipping his mind. 

Finally, after a month in which his losses 
totaled more than a thousand standards, 



Rakkis arrived at the war games, He was 
carrying a small plastic case under his 
arm. Inside was a spide.rlike thing covered 
with fine golden hair. 

"A sand spider," Rakkis announced. 
"From Cathaday. I got it this afternoon from 
t'Etherane the Petseller. Usually they re- 
move the poison sacs, but this one is intact. 
Are you game, Simon? I want my money 
back. I'll bet a thousand standards, sand 
spider against sandkings," 

Kress studied the spider in its plastic 
prison. His sandkings had grown — they 
were twice as large as Wo's, as she'd 
predicted— but they were still dwarfed by 
this thing. It was venomed, and they were 
not. Still, there were an awful lot of them. 
Besides, the endless sandking wars lately 
had begun to grow tiresome. The novelty of 
the malch intrigued him. 

"Done," Kress said. "Jad, you are a fool. 
The sandkings will just keep coming until 
this ugly creature of yours is dead." 

"You are the fool, Simon," Rakkis replied, 
smiling. "The Cathadayan sand spider cus- 
tomarily feeds on burrowers that hide in 
nooks and crevices, and — well, watch— it 
will go straight into those castles and eat 
the maws." 

Kress scowled amid general laughter. 
He hadn't counted on that. "Get on with it," 
he said irritably. Then he went to freshen his 
drink. 

The spider was too large to be cycled 
conveniently through the tood chamber. 



Two other guests helped Rakkis slide the 
tank top slightly to one side, and Malada 
Blane handed his case up to him. He shook 
the spider out. It landed lightly on a minia- 
ture dune in front of the red castle and 
stood confused for a moment, mouth work- 
ing, legs twitching menacingly. 

"Come on," Rakkis urged. They all 
gathered around the tank. Kress found his 
magnifiers and slipped them on. If he was 
going to lose a thousand standards, at 
least he wanted a good view of the action. 

The sandkings had seen the invader. All 
over the red castle activity had ceased. The 
small scarlet mobiles were frozen watch- 
ing. 

The spider began to move toward the 
dark promise of the gate. From the tower 
above, Simon Kress's countenance stared 
down impassively. 

At once there was a flurry of activity. The 
nearest red mobiles formed themselves 
into two wedges and streamed over the 
sand toward the spider. More warriors 
erupted from inside the castle and assem- 
bled in a triple line to guard the approach to 
the underground chamber where the maw 
lived. Scouts came scuttling over "the 
dunes, recalled to fight. 

Battle was joined. 

The attacking sandkings washed over 
the spider. Mandibles snapped shut on 
legs and abdomen, and clung. Reds raced 
up the golden legs to the invader's back. 
They bit and tore. One of them found an eye 



and ripped tt loose wiih tiny yellow tendrils. 
Kress smiled and pointed. 

But they were sma/7,.and they had no 
venom, and the spider did r;oi stop ,u, ,eas 
flicked sandkings off to either side. Its 
dripping jaws found others and left them 
broken and stiffening. Already a dozen of . 
the reds lay dying. The sand spider came 
on and on. It strode straight through the 
triple line of guardians before the castle. 
The lines closed around it, covered it, wag- 
ing desperate battle. A team of sandkings 
had bitten off one of the spider's legs. De- 
fenders leaped from atop the iowersto land 
on the twitching, heaving mass. 

Lost beneath the sandkings, the spider 
somehow lurched down into the darkness 
and vanished. 

Rakkis lei out a long breath. He looked 

pale, "Wonderful," someone else said. 

Malada Blane chuckled deep in her throat. 

"Look," said Idi Noreddian, tugging 

Kress by the arm. 

They had been so intent on the struggle 
in the corner that none of them had noticed 
the activity elsewhere in the tank. But. now 
the castle was -still, and the sands were 
empty save for dead red mobiles, and now 
they saw. 

Three armies were drawn up before the 
red castle. They stood quile still, in perfKoi 
.array, rank after rank of sandkings, orange 
and white and black— waiting to see what 
emerged from the. depths. 
Kress smiled. 'A cordon sanitaire," he 





said. 'And glance at the other castles, if you 
will, Jad." 

Rakkis did, and he swore. Teams of 
mobiles were sealing up the gates with 
sand and stone. If the spider somehow sur- 
vived this encounter, it would find no easy 
entrance at the other castles. "I should 
have brought four spiders," Rakkis said. 
"Still, I've won. My spider is down there right 
now, eating your damned maw." 

Kress did not reply. He waited. There was 
motion in the shadows. 

All at once red mobiles began pouring 
out of the gate. They took their positions on 
the castle and began repairing the dam- 
age that the spider had wrought. The other 
armies dissolved and began to retreat to 
their respective corners. 

"Jad," Kress said, "I think you are a bit 
confused about who is eating whom." 

The following week Rakkis brought four 
slim silver snakes. The sandkings dis- 
patched them without much trouble. 

Next he tried a large black bird. It ate 
more than thirty white mobiles, and its 
thrashing and blundering virtually de- 
stroyed that castle, but ultimately its wings 
grew tired, and the sandkings attacked in 
force wherever it landed. 

After that it was a case of insects, ar- 
mored beetles not too unlike the sandkings 
themselves. But stupid, stupid. An allied 
force of oranges and blacks broke their 
formation, divided them, and butchered 
them. 

Rakkis began giving Kress promissory 
notes. 

It was around that time that .Kress met 
Cath m'Lane again, one evening when he 
was dining in Asgard at his favorite restau- 
rant. He stopped at her table briefly and 
told her about the war games, inviting her 
to join them. She flushed, then regained 
control of herself and grew icy. "Someone 
has to put a stop to you, Simon, I guess it's 
going to be me," she said. 

Kress shrugged and enjoyed a lovely 
meal and fhought no more about her threat. 

Until a week later, when a small, stout 
woman arrived at his door and showed him 
a police w'ristband. "We've had com- 
plaints," she said. "Do you keep a tank full 
of dangerous insects, Kress?" 

"Not insects," he said, furious. "Come, I'll 
show you." 

When she had seen the sandkings, she 
shook her head. "This will never do. What 
do you know about these creatures any- 
way? Do you know what world they're from? 
Have they been cleared by the Ecological 
Board 9 Do you have a license for these 
things? We have a report that they're carni- 
vores and possibly dangerous. We also 
have a reporf that they are semisentient. 
Where did you get these creatures any- 
way?" 

"From Wo and Shade," Kress replied. 

"Never heard of them," the woman said. 
"Probably smuggled them in, knowing our 
ecologists would never approve them. No, 
Kress, this won't do. I'm going to confiscate 

104 OMNI 



this tank and have it destroyed. And you're 
going to have to expect a few fines as well." 

Kress offered her a'hundred standards 
to forget all about him and his sandkings. 

She fs/red. "Now I'll have to add attempt- 
ed bribery to Ihe charges against you." 

Not until he raised the figure to two 
thousand standards was she willing to be 
persuaded. "It's not going to be easy, you 
know," she said. "There are forms to be 
altered, records to be wiped. And getting a 
forged license from the ecologists will be 
time-consuming. Not to mention dealing 
with the complainant. What if she calls 



"Lea 



i her to me," Kress said. "Leave 



He thought about it for a while. That night 
he made some calls. 

First he got t'Etherane the Petseller "I 
want to buy a dog," he said. "A puppy." 

The round-faced merchant gawked at 
him. "A puppy? That is not like you, Simon. 



+When he shoved 

her, she looked briefly 

startled. She 

screamed as she tumbled 

down the stairs. 

"I'm hurt," she called-. . . 

and shortly afterward 

. . .the screaming started^ 



Why don't you come in? I have a lovely 
choice." 

"I want a very specific kind of puppy," 
Kress said. "Take notes. I'll describe to you 
what it must look like." 

Afterwards he punched for Idi Nored- 
dian. "Idi," he said, "I want you out here 
tonight with your holo equipment. I have a 
notion to record a sandking battle. A pres- 
ent for one of my friends." 

The night after they made the recording, 
Kress stayed up late. He absorbed a con- 
troversial new drama in his sensoriurn, 
fixed himself a small snack, smoked a 
couple of joy sticks, and broke out a bottle 
of wine. Feeling very happy with himself, he 
wandered into the living room, glass in 
hand. 

The lights were out. The red glow of the 
terrarium made the shadows look flushed 
and feverish. Kress walked over to survey 
his domain, curious as to how the blacks 
were doing in the repairs on their castle. 
The puppy had left it in ruins. 

The restoration went well. But as Kress 
inspected the work through his magnifiers, 
he chanced to glance closely at the face on 



the sand-castle wall. It startled him. 

He drew back, blinked, took a healthy 
gulp of wine, and looked again. 

The face on the wall was still his. But it 
was all wrong, all twisted. His cheeks were 
bloated and piggish; his smile was a 
crooked leer. He looked impossibly malevo- 
lent. 

Uneasy, he moved around the tank to 
inspect the other castles. They were each a 
bit different, but ullimately all the same. 

The oranges had left out most of the fine 
detail, buf the result still seemed mon- 
strous, crude; a brutal mouth and mindless 
eyes. 

The reds gave him a satanic, twitching 
sort of smile, His mouth did odd, unlovely 
things at its corners. 

The whites, his favorites, had carved a 
cruel idiot god. 

Kress flung his wine across the room in 
rage. "You dare," he said under his breath. 
"Now you won't eat for a week, you 
damned ..." His voice was shrill. "Ill teach 
you." 

He had an idea. He strode out of the 
room, then returned a moment later with an 
antique iron throwing sword in his hand. It 
was a meter long, and the point was still 
sharp. Kress smiled, climbed up, and 
moved the tank cover aside just enough to 
give him working room, exposing one 
corner of the desert. He leaned down and 
jabbed the sword at the white castle below 
him. He waved it back and forth, smashing 
towers and ramparts and walls. Sand and 
stone collapsed, burying the scrambling 
mobiles. A flick of his wrist obliterated the 
features of the insolent, insulting caricature 
that the sandkings had made of his face, 
Then he poised the point of the sword 
above the dark mouth that opened down 
into Ihe maw's chamber; he thrust with all 
his strength, meeting wiih resistance. He 
heard a soft, squishing sound. All the 
mobiles trembled and collapsed. Satisfied, 
Kress pulled back. 

He watched for a moment, wondering 
whether he had killed the maw. The point of 
the throwing sword was wet and slimy. But 
finally the white sandkings began to move 
again — feebly, slowly — but they moved, 

He was preparing to slide the cover back 
into place and move on to a second castle 
when he felt something crawling on his 
hand. 

He screamed, dropping the sword, and 
brushed the sandking from his flesh. It fell 
to the carpet, and he ground it beneath his 
heel, crushing it thoroughly long after it was 
dead. It had crunched when he stepped on 
it. After that, trembling, he hurriedly sealed 
the tank up again. He rushed off to shower 
and inspected hi'-.seil carefully. He boiled 
his clothing. 

Later, after drinking several glasses of 
wine, he returned to the living room. He was 
a bit ashamed of the way he had been 
terrified by the sandking. But he was not 
about to open the tank again. From then on, 
the cover would stay sealed permanently. 
Still, he had to punish Ihe others. 




_S&T\IQ 



"Hey you guys, we're being transferred to another galaxy!" 



He decided to lubricate his mental pro- 
cesses with another glass of wine. As he 
finished it, an inspiration came to him. He 
went to the tank and made a few adjust- 
ments to the humidity controls. 

By the time he fell asleep on the couch, 
his wine glass still in his hand, the sand 
castles were melting in the rain. 

Kress woke to angry pounding on his 

door. 

He sat up, groggy, his head throbbing. 
Wine hangovers were always the worst, he 
thought. He lurched to the entry chamber. 

Cath rn'Lane was outside. "You monster," 
she said, her face swollen and puffy and 
streaked with tears. "I cried all night, damn 
yorj. But no more, Simon, no more." 

"Easy,' 1 he said, holding his head. "I've 
got a hangover." 

.She swore and shoved him aside and 
pushed her way into his house. The sham- 
bler came peering round a corner to see 
what the noise was. She spat at ft and 
stalked into the living room, Kress trailing 
ineffectually after her. "Hold on," he said, 
"where do you . . . you can't ..." He 
stopped, suddenly horror-struck. She was 
carrying a heavy sledgehammer in her left 
hand. "No," he said, 

She went directly to the sandkings' tank. 
"You like the little charmers so much, Si- 
mon? Then you can live with them." 

"Cath!" he shrieked. 

Gripping the hammer with both hands, 



she swung as hard as she could against 
the side of the tank. The sound of the im- 
pact set Kress's head to screaming, and he 
made a low, blubbering sound of despair. 
But the plastic held. 

She swung again. This time there was a 
crack, and a network of thin lines appeared 
in the wall of the tank. 

Kress threw himself at her as she drew 
back her hammer to take a third swing. 
They went down flailing and rolled over She 
lost her grip on the hammer and tried to 
throttle him, but Kress wrenched free and 
bit her on the arm, drawing blood. They 
both staggered to their feet, panting. 

"You should see yourself, Simon," she 
said grimly. "Blood dripping from your 
mouth. You look like one of your pets. How 
do you like the taste?" 

"Get out," he said. He saw the throwing 
sword where it had fallen the night before, 
and he snatched it up. "Get out," he re- 
peated, waving the sword for emphasis. 
"Don't go near that tank again." 

She laughed at him. "You wouldn't dare," 
she said. She bent to pick up her hammer. 

Kress shrieked at her and lunged. Before 
he quite knew what was happening, the 
iron blade had gone clear through her ab- 
domen. Cath rn'Lane looked at him wonder- 
ingly and down at the sword. Kress fell 
back, whimpering. "I didn't mean ... I only 
wanted ..." 

She was transfixed, bleeding, nearly 
dead-, but somehow she did not fall. "You 



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monster," she managed to say, Ihough her 
mouth was full of blood. And she whirled, 
impossibly the sword in her, and swung 
with her last strength at the tank. The tor- 
tured wall shattered, and Cath rn'Lane was 
buried beneath an avalanche of plastic 
and sand and mud. 

Kress made small hysterical noises and 
scrambled up onto the couch. 

Sandkings were emerging from the muck 
on his living-room floor. They were crawling 
across Cath's body. A few of them ventured 
tentatively out across the carpet. More fol- 
lowed . 

He watched as a column took shape, a 
living, writhing square of sandkings, bear- 
ing something — something slimy and fea- 
tureless, a piece of raw meat as big as a 
man's head. They began to carry it away 
from the tank. It pulsed. 

That was when Kress broke and ran. 

Before he found the courage to return 
home, he ran to his skimmer and flew to the 
nearest city, some fifty kilometers away, al- 
most sick with fear But, once safely away. 
he found a small restaurant, downed sev- 
eral mugs of coffee and two anti-hangover 
tabs, ate a full breakfast, and gradually 
regained his composure. 

it had been a dreadful morning, but 
dwelling on that would solve nothing. He 
ordered more coffee and considered his 
situation with icy rationality. 

Cath rn'Lane was dead at his hand. 
Could he report it and plead that it had 
been an accident? Unlikely. He had run her 
through, after all, and he had already told 
that policer to leave her to him. He would 
have to get rid of the evidence and hope 
that Cath had not told anyone her plans for 
the day. It was very unlikely she had. She 
could only have gotten his gift late last 
night. She said that she had cried all night, 
and she was alone when she arrived. Very 
well, he had one body and one skimmer to 
dispose of. 

That left the sandkings. They might prove 
more of a difficulty. No doubt they had all 
escaped by now. The thought of them 
around his house, in his bed and his 
clothes, infesting his food — it made his 
flesh crawl. He shuddered and overcame 
his revulsion. It really shouldn't be too hard 
to kill them, he reminded himself. He didn't 
have lo account for every mobile. Just the 
four maws, that was all. He could do that. 
They were large, as he'd seen. He would 
find them and kill them. He was their god; 
now he would be their destroyer. 

He went shopping before he flew back to 
his home. He bought a set of skinthins that 
would cover him from head to foot, several 
bags of poison pellets for rockjock control, 
and a spray canister containing an illegally 
strong pesticide. He also bought a mag- 
nalock towing device. 

When he landed -late that afternoon, he 
went about things methodically. First he 
hooked Cath's skimmer to his own with the 
magnalock. Searching it. he had his first 



piece .of luck. The crystal chip with Idi 
Noreddian's holo oi the sandking tight was 
on the front seat. He had worried about that. 

When the skimmers were ready, he 
slipped into his skinthins and went in- 
side to get Cath's body. 

It wasn't there. 

He poked through the (ast-drying sand 
carefully, and. there was no doubt of it, the 
body was gone. Could she have dragged 
herself away? Unlikely but Kress searched. 
A cursory inspection of his house turned up 
neither the body nor any sign of the sand- 
kings. He did not have time for a more 
thorough investigation, not with the in- 
criminating skimmer outside his front door 
He resolved to try later. 

Some seventy kilometers north of Kress's 
estate was a range of active volcanoes. He 
flew there, Cath's skimmer in tow. Above the 
glowering cone of the largest volcano he 
released the magnalock and watched the 
skimmer plummet down and vanish in the 
lava bejow. 

It was dusk when he returned to his 
house. This gave him pause. Briefly he 
considered flying back to the city and 
spending the night there. He put the 
thought aside. There was work to do. He 
wasn't safe yet. 

He scattered the poison pellets around 
the exterior of his house. No one would 
think this suspicious. He had always had a 
rockjock problem. When this task was 
completed, he primed the canister of pes- 
■" ticide and ventured back inside the house. 

Kress went through the house, room by 
room, turning on lights everywhere he went 
until he was surrounded by a blaze oi artifi- 
cial illumination. He paused to clean up in 
the living room, shoveling sand and plastic 
fragments back into the broken tank. The 
sandkings were all gone, as he'd feared. 
The castles were shrunken and distorted, 
slagged by the watery bombardment 
Kress had visited upon them, and what little 
of them remained was crumbling as it 
dried. 

He frowned and searched further, the 
canister of pest spray strapped across his 
shoulders. 

Down in the wine cellar he could see 
Cath m'Lane's corpse. 

It sprawled at the foot of a steep flight of 
stairs, the limbs twisted as if by a fall. White 
mobiles were swarming all over it, and as 
Kress watched, the body moved jerkily 
across the hard-packed dirt floor 

He laughed and twisted the illumination 
up to maximum, In the far corner a squat 
little earthen castle and a dark hole were 
visible between two wine racks. Kress 
could make out a rough outline of his face 
on the cellar wall. 

The body shifted once again, moving a 
few centimeters toward the castle. Kress 
had a sudden vision of the white maw wait- 
ing hungrily. It might be able to get Cath's 
foot in its mouth, but no more. It was too 
absurd. He laughed again and started 
down into the cellar, finger poised on the 
trigger of the hose that snaked down his 



right arm, The sandkings— hundreds of 
them moving as one — deserted the body 

and assumed battle formation, a field of 
white between him and their maw. 

Suddenly Kress had another inspiration. 
He smiled and lowered his firing hand. 
"Cath was always hard to swallow "he said, 
delighted at his wit. "Especially for one your 
size. Here, let me give you some help. What 
are gods for, after all?" 

He retreated upstairs, returning shortly 
with a cleaver. The sandkings, patient, 
waited and watched while Kress chopped 
Cath rn'Lane into small, easily digestible 
pieces. 

Kress slept in his skinthins that night, the 
pesticide close at hand, but he did not 
need it. The whites, sated, remained in the 
cellar, and he saw no sign of the others. 

In the morning he finished the cleanup of 
the living room. When he was through, no 
trace of the struggle remained except for 
the broken tank. 

He ate a light lunch and resumed his 
hunt for the missing sandkings. In full day- 
light it was not too difficult. The blacks had 
located in his rock garden, where they built 
a castle heavy with obsidian and quartz. 
The reds he found at the bottom of his 
long-disused swimming pool, which had 
partially filled with wind-blown sand over 
the years. He saw mobiles of both colors 
ranging about his grounds, many of them 
carrying poison pellets back to their maws. 



Kress felt like laughing. He decided his 
pesticide was unnecessary. No use risking 
a fight when he could just let the poison do 
its work. Both maws should be dead by 
evening. 

That left only the burnt-orange sand- 
kings unaccounted for. Kress circled his 
estate several times, in an ever-widening 
spiral, but he found no trace of them. When 
he began to sweat in his skinthins — it was a 
hot, dry day — he decided it was not impor- 
tant. If they were out here, they were proba- 
bly eating the poison pellets, as the reds 
and blacks were. 

He crunched several sandkings under- 
foot, with a certain degree of satisfaction, 
as he walked back to the house. Inside, he 
removed his skinthins, settled down to a 
delicious meal, and finally began to relax. 
Everything was under control. Two of the 
maws would soon be defunct, the third was 
safely located where he could dispose of it 
after it had served his purposes, and he 
had no doubt that he would find the fourth. 
As for Cath, every trace of her visit had 
been obliterated. 

His reverie was interrupted when his 
viewscreen began to blink at him. (t was 
Jad Rakkis, calling to brag about some 
cannibal worms he would bring to the war 
games tonight. 

Kress had forgotten about that, but he 
recovered quickly. "Oh, Jad, my pardons. I 
neglected to tell you. I grew bored with all 
that and got rid of the sandkings. Ugly little 




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things. Sorry, but there'll be no party to- 
night." 

Rakkis was indignant. "But what will I do 
with my worms?" 

"Put them in a basket of fruit and send 
them to a loved one," Kress said, signing 
off. Quickly he began calling the others. He 
did not need anyone arriving at his 
doorstep now, with the sandkings alive and 
infesting the estate, * 

As he was calling Idi Noreddian, Kress 
became aware of an annoying oversight. 
The screen began to clear, indicating that 
someone had answered at the ofher end. 
Kress flicked off. 

Idi arrived on schedule an hour later. She 
was surprised to find the party had been 
canceled but perfectly happy to share an 
evening alone with Kress. He delighted her 
with his story of Cath's reaction to the holo 
they had made together. While telling it, he 
managed to ascertain that she had not 
mentioned the prank to anyone. He nod- 
ded, satisfied, and refilled theirwine glass- 
es. Only a trickle was left, "I'll have to get a 
fresh bottle," he said. "Come with me to my 
wine cellar, and help me pick out a good 
vintage. You've always had a better palate 
than I." 

She went along willingly enough but 
balked at the top of the stairs when Kress 
opened the door and gestured for her to 
precede him, "Where are the lights?" she 
asked. 'And that smell — what's that pecu- 
liar smell, Simon?" 

When he shoved her, she looked briefly 
startled. She screamed as she tumbled 
down the stairs. Kress closed the door and 
began to nail it shut with the boards and air 
hammer he had left for that purpose. As he 
was finishing, he heard Idi groan, "I'm 
hurt," she called. "Simon, what is this?" 
Suddenly she squealed, and shortly after 
that the screaming started. 

It did not cease for hours. Kress went to 
his sensorium and dialed up a saucy com- 
edy to blot it from his mind. 

When he was sure she was dead, Kress 
flew her skimmer north to the volcanoes 
and discarded it. The magnalock was prov- 
ing a good investment. 

Odd scrabbling noises were coming 
from beyond the wine-cellar door the next 
morning when Kress went down to check 
things out. He listened for several uneasy 
moments, wondering whether Idi might 
possibly have survived and was scratching 
to get out. This seemed unlikely; it had lobe 
the sandkings. Kress did not like the impli- 
cations of this. He decided that he would 
keep the door sealed, at least for a while. 
He went outside with a shovel to bury the 
red and black maws in their own castles. 

He found them very much alive. 

The black .castle was glittering with vol- 
canic glass, and'sandkings were all over it, 
repairing and improving. The highest tower 
was up to his waist, and on it was a hideous 
caricature of his face. When he ap- 

10B OMNI 



proached, the blacks halted in their labors 
and formed up into two threatening 
phalanxes. Kress glanced behind him and 
saw others closing off his escape. Startled, 
he dropped his shovel and sprinted out of 
the trap, crushing several mobiles beneath 
his boots. 

The red castle was creeping up the walls 
of the swimming pool. The maw was safely 
settled in a pit, surrounded by sand and 
concrete and bafflements. The reds crept 
all over the bottom of the pool. Kress 
watched them carry a rockjock and a large 
lizard into the castle. Horrified, he stepped 
back from the poolside and felt something 
crunch. Looking down, he saw three 
mobiles climbing up his leg. He brushed 
them off and stamped them to death, but 
others were approaching rapidly. They 
were larger than he remembered. Some 
were almost as big as his thumb. 

He ran. 

By the time he reached the safety of the 
house, his heart was racing and he was 



£ The heavy door 
was still nailed shut, as he 

had left it. But 

it bulged outward slightly, 

as if warped by 

some tremendous pressure. 

That made Kress 
uneasy as did the silence. ,,3 



short of breath. He closed the door behind 
him and hurried to lock it. His house was 
supposed to be pestproof. He'd be safe in 
here. 

A stiff drink steadied his nerve. So 
poison doesn't faze them, he thought. He 
should have known. Jala Wo had warned 
him that the maw could eat anything. He 
would have to use the pesticide. He took 
another drink for good measure, donned 
his skinthins, and strapped the canister to 
his back. He unlocked the door. 

Outside, the sandkings were waiting. 

Two armies confronted him, allied 
against the common threat. More than he 
could have guessed. The damned maws 
must be breeding like rockjocks. Mobiles 
were everywhere, a creeping sea of them. 

Kress brought up the hose and flicked 
the trigger. A gray mist washed over the 
nearest rank of sandkings. He moved his 
hand from side to side. 

Where the mist fell, the sandkings 
twitched violently and died in sudden 
spasms. Kress smiled. They were no match 
for him. He sprayed in a wide arc before 
him and stepped forward confidently over a 
litter of black and red bodies. The armies 



fell back. Kress advanced, intent on cutting 
through them to their maws. 

All at once the retreat stopped. A 
thousand sandkings surged toward him. 

Kress had been expecting the counterat- 
tack. He stood his ground, sweeping his 
misty sword before him in great looping 
strokes. They came" at him and died. A few 
got through; he could not spray everywhere 
at once. He felt them climbing up his legs, 
then sensed their mandibles biting futilely 
at the reinforced plastic of his skinthins. He 
ignored them and kept spraying. 

Then he began to feel soft impacts on his 
head and shoulders. 

Kress trembled and spun and looked up 
above him. The front of his house was alive 
with sandkings. Blacks and reds, hundreds 
of them. They were launching themselves 
intothe air, raining down on him. They fell all 
around him. One landed on his faceplate. 
its mandibles scraping at his eyes for a 
terrible second before he plucked it away. 

He swung up his hose and sprayed the 
air, sprayed the house, sprayed until the 
airborne sandkings were all dead or dying. 
The mist settled back on him, making him 
cough. But he kept spraying. Only when 
the front of the house was clean did Kress 
turn his attention back to the ground. 

They were all around him, on him, dozens 
of them scurrying over his body, hundreds 
of others hurrying to join them. He turned 
the mist on them. The hose went dead. 
Kress heard a loud hiss, and the deadly fog 
rose in a great cloud from between his 
shoulders, cloaking him, choking him, mak- 1 
ing his eyes bum and blur. He felt for the 
hose, and his hand came away covered 
with dying sandkings. The hose was sev- 
ered; they'd eaten it through. He was sur- 
rounded by a shroud of pesticide, blinded. 
He stumbled and screamed and began to 
run back to the house, pulling sandkings 
from his body as he went. 

Inside, he sealed the door and collapsed 
on the carpet, rolling back and forth until he 
was sure he had crushed them all. The 
canister was empty by then, hissing feebly. 
Kress stripped off his skinthins and show- 
ered. The hot spray scalded him and left 
his skin reddened and sensitive, but it 
made his flesh stop crawling. 

He dressed in his heaviest clothing, thick 
work pants and leathers, after shaking 
them out nervously. "Damn," he kept mut- 
tering, "damn." His throat was dry. After 
searching the entry hall thoroughly to make 
certain it was clean, he allowed himself to 
sit and pour a drink. "Damn," he repeated. 
His hand shook as. he poured, slopping 
liquor on the carpet. 

The alcohol settled him, but it did not 
wash away the fear. He had a second drink 
and went to the window furtively. Sandkings 
were moving across the thick plastic pane. 
He shuddered and retreated to his com- 
munications console. He had to get help, 
he thought wildly He would punch through 
a call to the authorities, and policers would 
come out with flamethrowers, and . . . 

Kress stopped in mid-call and groaned. 



He couldn't call in the police. He would 
have io tell them about the whites in his 
cellar, and they'd find the bodies there. 
Perhaps the maw might have finished Cath 
m'Lane by now, but certainly not Idi Nored- 
dian: He hadn't even cut her up. Besides, 
there would be bones. No, the police could 
be called in only as a last resort. 

He sat at the console, frowning. His 
communications equipment filled a whole 
wall. From here he could reach anyone on 
Baldur. He had plenty of money and his 
cunning; he had always prided himself on 
his cunning. He would handle this some- 
. how. 

Briefly he considered calling Wo, but he 
soon dismissed the idea. Wo knew too 
much, and she would ask questions, and 
he did not trust her. No, he needed some- 
one who would do as he asked without 
questions. 

His frown slowly turned into a smile. 
Kress had contacts. He put through a call 
to a number he had not used in a long time. 

A woman's face took shape on his 
viewscreen — white-haired, blank of ex- 
pression, with a long, hooked nose, Her 
voice was brisk and efficient. "Simon," she 
said. "How is business?" 

"Business is fine, Lissandra," Kress re- 
plied. "I have a job for you." 

'A removal? My price has gone up since 
last time, Simon. It has been ten years, after 

"You will be well paid," Kress said. "You 



know I'm generous. I want you for a bit of 
pest control." 

She smiled a thin smile. "No need Io use 
euphemisms, Simon. The call is shielded." 

"No, I'm serious. I have a pest-problem. 
Dangerous pests. Take care of them for me. 
No queslions. Understood?" 

"Understood." 

"Good. You'll need ... oh, three to four 
operatives, Wear heat-resistant skinthins, 
and equip them with flamethrowers, or la- 
sers, something on that order. Come out to 
my place. You'll see the problem. Bugs, lots 
and lots of them. In my rock garden and the 
old swimming pool you'll find castles. De- 
stroy them, kill everything inside them. 
Then knock on the door, and I'll show you 
what else needs to be done. Can you get 
out here quickly?" 

Her face remained impassive. "We'll 
leave within the hour." 

Lissandra was true to her word. She ar- 
rived in a lean, black skimmer with three 
operatives. Kress watched them from the 
safely of a second-story window. They were 
all faceless in dark plastic skinthins. Two of 
them wore portable flamethrowers; a third 
carried lasercannon and explosives. Lis- 
sandra carried nothing; Kress recognized 
her by the way she gave orders. 

Their skimmer passed low overhead first. 
checking out the situation. The sandkings 
went mad, Scarlet and ebon mobiles ran 
everywhere, frenetic. Kress could see the 



castle in the rock garden Irom his vantage 
point. It stood tall as a man.' Its ramparts 
were crawling with black defenders, and a 
steady stream of mobiles flowed down into 
its depths. 

Lissandras skimmer came down next to 
Kress's, and the operatives vaulted out and 
unlimbered their weapons. They looked in- 
human, deadly 

The black army drew up between them 
and the castle. The reds— Kress suddenly 
realized that he could not see the reds. He 
blinked. Where had they gone? 

Lissandra pointed and shouled, and her 
Iwo flamethrowers spread out and opened 
up on the black sandkings, Their weapons 
coughed dully and began to roar, long 
tongues of blue-and-scarlet fire licking out 
before them. Sandkings crisped and 
shriveled and died. The operatives began 
to play the fire back and forth in an efficient, 
interlocking pattern. They advanced with 
careful, measured steps. 

The black army burned and disinte- 
grated, the mobiles fleeing in a thousand 
different directions, some back toward the 
castle, others toward the enemy. None 
reached the operatives with the flame- 
throwers. Lissandra's people were very 
professional. 
Then one of them stumbled. 
Or seemed to stumble, Kress looked 
again and saw that the ground had given 
way beneath the man. Tunnels, he thought 
with a tremor of fear; tunnels, pits, traps. 




The f lamer was sunk in sand up io his waist, 
and suddenly the ground around him 
seemed to erupt, and he was covered with 
scarlet sandkings. He dropped the flame- 
thrower and began to claw wildly at his own 
body. His screams were horrible to hear. 

His companion hesitated, then swung 
and fired. A blast of flame swallowed 
human and sandkings both. The scream- 
ing stopped abruptly. Satisfied, the second 
flamer turned back to the castle, took 
another step forward, and recoiled as his 
foot broke through the ground and van- 
ished up to the ankle. He tried to pull it back 
and retreat, and the sand all around him 
gave way. He lost his balance and stum- 
bled, flailing, and the sandkings were ev- 
erywhere, a boiling mass of them, covering 
him as he writhed and rolled. His flame- 
thrower was useless and forgotten. 

Kress pounded wildly on the window, 
shouting for attention. "The castle! Get the 
castle!" 

Lissandra, standing back by her skim- 
mer, heard and gestured. Her third opera- 
tive sighted with the lasercannon and fired. 
The beam throbbed across the grounds 
and sliced off the top of the castle. He 
brought the cannon down sharply, hacking 
at the sand and stone parapets. Towers fell. 
Kress's face disintegrated. The laser bit 
into the ground, searching round and 
about. The castle crumbled. Mow it was 
only a heap of sand. But the black mobiles 
continued to move. The maw was buried 



too deeply. The beams hadn't touched it. 

Lissandra gave another order. Her opera- 
tive discarded the laser, primed an explo- 
sive, and darted forward. He leaped over 
the smoking corpse of the first flamer, 
landed on solid ground within Kress's rock 
garden, and heaved. The explosive ball 
landed square atop the ruins of the black 
castle. White-hot light seared Kress's eyes, 
and there was a tremendous gout of sand 
and rock and mobiles. For a moment dust 
obscured everything. It was raining sand- 
kings and pieces of sandkings. 

Kress saw that the black mobiles were 
dead and unmoving. 

"The pool!" he shouted down through the 
window. "Get the castle in the pool!" 

Lissandra understood quickly; the 
ground was littered with motionless blacks, 
but the reds were pulling back hurriedly 
and re-forming. Her operative stood uncer- 
tain, then reached down and pulled out 
another explosive ball. He took one step 
forward, but Lissandra called him, and he 
sprinted back in her direction. 

It was all so simple then. He reached the 
skimmer, and Lissandra took him aloft, 
Kress rushed to another window in another 
room to watch. They came swooping in just 
over the pool, and the operative pitched his 
bombs down at the red castle from the 
safety of the skimmer. After the fourth run, 
the castle was unrecognizable, and the 
sandkings stopped moving. 

'Lissandra was thorough. She had him 




"What do you mean, it's a start? That's it. 1 " 



■ Inn-il Mnr,;;. 

Then he used the lasercannon, crisscross- 
ing methodically until it was certain that 
nothing living could remain intact beneath 
those small patches of ground. 

Finally they came knocking at his door. 
Kress was grinning-maniacally when he let 
them in. "Lovely" he said, "lovely." 

Lissandra pulled off the mask of her skin- 
thins. "This will cost you. Simon. Two opera- 
tives gone, not to mention the danger to my 
own life." 

"Of course," Kress blurted, "You'll be well 
paid, Lissandra. Whatever you ask, just so 
you finish the job." 

"What remains to be done?" 

"You have to clean out my wine cellar," 
Kress said. "There's another castle down 
there. And you'll have to do it without explo- 
sives. I don't want my house coming down 
around me." 

Lissandra motioned to her operative. 
"Go outside and get Rajk's flamethrower. It 
should be intact." 

He returned armed, ready, silent. Kress ' 
led them to the wine cellar. 

The heavy door was still nailed shut, as 
he had left it. But it bulged outward slightly, 
as if warped by some tremendous pres- 
sure. That made Kress uneasy, as did the 
silence that reigned about them. He stood 
well away from the door while Lissandra's 
operative removed his nails and planks. "Is 
that safe in here?" he found himself mutter- 
ing, pointing at the flamethrower. "I don't 
want a fire, either, you know." 

"1 have the laser," Lissandra said. "We'll * 
use that for the kill. The flamethrowerprob- 
ably won't be needed. But I want it here just 
in case. There are worse things than fire, 
Simon." 

He nodded. 

The last plank came free of the cellar 
door. There was still no sound from below. 
Lissandra snapped an order, and her 
underling fell back, took up a position be- 
hind her, and leveled the flamethrower 
squarely at the door. She slipped her mask 
back on, hefted the laser, stepped forward , 
and pulled the door open. 

No motion. No sound. It was dark down 
there. 

"Is there a light?" Lissandra asked. 

"Just inside the door," Kress said. "On 
the right-hand side. Mind the stairs. They're 
quite steep." 

She stepped into the doorway, shitted 
the laser to her left hand, and reached up 
with her right, fumbling inside for the light 
panel. Nothing happened. "1 feel it," Lis- 
sandra said, "but it doesn't seem to . . . 

Then she was screaming, and she stum- 
bled backward. A great white sandking 
had clamped itself around her wrist. Blood 
welled through her skinthins where its 
mandibles had sunk in. It was fully as large 
as her hand. 

Lissandra did a horrible little jig across 
the room and began to smash her hand 
against the nearest wall. Again 'and again 
and again. It landed with a heavy, meaty 
thud. Finally the sandking fell away. She ■ 



whimpered and fell to her knees. 

"I think my fingers are broken," she said 
softly The blood was still flowing freely. She 
had dropped the laser near the cellar door. 

"I'm not going down there," her operative 
announced in clear, firm tones. 

Lissandra looked up at him. "No," she 
said. "Stand in the door and flame it all. 
Cinder it. Do you understand?" 

He nodded. 

Kress moaned. "My house" he said. His 
stomach churned. The whitesandking had 
been so large. How many more were down 
there? "Don't." he continued. "Leave it 
alone. I've changed my mind." 

Lissandra misunderstood. She held out 
her hand. It was covered with blood and 
■ greenish-black ichor. "Your little friend bit 
clean through my glove, and you saw what 
it took to get it off. I don't care about your 
house, Simon. Whatever is down there is 
going to die." 

Kress hardly heard her. He thought he 
could see movement in the shadows be- 
yond the cellar door. He imagined a white 
army bursting out, each soldier as big as 
the sandking that had attacked Lissandra. 
He saw himself being lifted by a hundred 
tiny arms and being dragged down into the 
darkness, where the maw wailed hungrily 
He was afraid. "Don't," he said. 

They ignored him. 

Kress darted forward, and his shoulder 
slammed into the back of Lissandra's 
operative just as the man was bracing to 
fire. The operative grunted, lost his bal- 
ance, and pitched forward into the black. 
Kress listened to him fall down the stairs. 
Afterwards there were other noises— 
scuttlings and snaps and soft, squishing 
sounds. 

Kress swung around to face Lissandra. 
He was drenched in cold sweat, but a 
sickly kind of excitement possessed him. It 
was almost sexual. 

Lissandra's calm, cold eyes regarded 
him through her mask. "What are you do- 
ing?" she demanded as Kress picked up 
the laser she had dropped. "Simon!" 

"Making a peace," he said, giggling. 
"They won't hurt god, no, not so long as god 
is good and generous. I was cruel. Starved 
them. I have to make up for it now, you see." 
"You're insane," Lissandra said. It was 
the last thing she said. Kress burned a hole 
in her chest big enough to put his arm 
through. He dragged the body across the 
floor and rolled it down the cellar stairs. The 
noises were louder — chitinous clackings 
and scrapings and echoes that were thick 
and liquid, Kress nailed up the door once 
again. 

As he fled, he was filled with a deep 
sense of contentment that coated his fear 
like a layer of syrup. He suspected it was 
not his own. 

He planned to leave his home, to fly to the 
city and take a room for a night, or perhaps 
for a year. Instead he started drinking. He 
was not quite sure why He drank steadily 
for hours and retched it all up violently on 



his living-room carpet. At some point he fell 
asleep. When he woke, it was pitch-dark in 
the house. 

He cowered against the couch. He could 
hear noises. Things were moving in the 
walls. They were all around him. His hear- 
ing was extraordinarily acute. Every little 
creak was the footstep of a sandking. He 
closed his eyes and waited, expecting to 
feel their terrible touch, afraid to move lest 
he brush against one. 

Kress sobbed and then was very still, 

Time passed, but nothing happened. 

He opened his eyes again. He trembled. 
Slowly the shadows began to soften and 
dissolve. Moonlight was filtering through 
the high windows. His eyes adjusted. 

The living room was empty. Nothing 
there, nothing, nothing. Only his drunken 
fears. 

Kress steeled himself and rose and went 
to a light. 

Nothing there. The room was deserted. 

He listened. Nothing. No sound. Nothing 
in the walls. It had all been his imagination, 
his fear. 

The memories of Lissandra and the thing 
in the cellar returned to him unbidden. 
Shame and anger washed over him. Why 
had he done that? He could have helped 
her burn it out, kill it. Why ... he knew why. 
The maw had done it to him, had put fear in 
him. Wo had said it was psionic, even when 
it was small. And now it was large, so large. 
It had feasted on Cath and Idi. and now it 



had two more bodies down there. It would 
keep growing. And it had learned to like the 
taste of human flesh, he thought. 

He began to shake, but "he took control of 
himself again and stopped. It wouldn't hurt 
him; he was god: the whites had always 
been his favorites. 

He remembered how he had stabbed it 
with his throwing sword. That was before 
Cath came. Damn her, anyway. 

He couldn't stay here. The maw would 
grow hungry again. Large as it was, it 
wouldn't take long. Its appetite would be 
terrible. What would it do then? He had to " 
get away, back to the safety of the city while 
the maw was still contained in his wine cel- 
lar. It was only plaster and hard-packed 
earth down there, and the mobiles could 
dig and tunnel. When they got free ... 
Kress didn't want to think about it. 

He went to his bedroom and packed He 
took three bags. Just a single change of 
clothing, that was all he needed; the rest of 
the space he filled with his valuables, with 
jewelry and art and other things he could 
not bear to lose. He did not expect to return 
to this place ever again. 

His shambler followed him down the 
stairs, staring at him from its baleful, glow- 
ing eyes. It was gaunt. Kress realized that it 
had been ages since he had fed it. Nor- 
mally it could take care of itself, but no 
doubt the pickings had grown lean of late 
When it tried to clutch at his leg, he snarled 
at it and kicked it away, and it scurried off, 




obviously hurl and offended. 

Carrying his bags awkwardly, Kress 
slipped outside and shut the door behind 
him. 

For a moment he stood pressed against 
the house, his heart thudding in his chest. 
Only a few meters between him and his 
skimmer He was afraid to take those few 
steps. The moonlight was bright, and the 
grounds in front of his house were a scene 
of carnage. The bodies of Lissandra's two 
flamers lay where they had fallen, one 
twisted and burned, the other swollen be- 
neath a mass of dead sandkings. And the 
mobiles, the black and red mobiles, they 
were all around him. It took an effort to 
remember that they were dead. If was al- 
most as if they were simply waiting, as they 
had waited so often before. 

Nonsense, Kress told himself. More 
drunken fears. He had seen the castles 
blown apart. They were dead, and the 
white 'maw was trapped in his cellar. He 
took several deep and deliberate breaths 
and stepped forward onto the sandkings. 
They crunched. He ground them into the 
sand savagely. They did not move. 

Kress smiled and walked slowly across 
the battleground, listening to the sounds, 
the sounds of safety. 

Crunch, crackle, crunch . 

He lowered his bags to the ground and 
opened the door to his skimmer. 



Something moved from shadow inlo 
light. A pale shape on the seat of his skim- 
mer. It'was as long as his forearm. Its man- 
dibles clacked together softly, and it looked 
up at him from six small eyes set all around 
its body. 

Kress wet his pants and backed away 
slowly. 

There was more motion from inside the 
skimmer. He had left the door open. The 
sandking emerged and came toward him, 
cautiously. Others followed. They had been 
hiding beneath his seats, burrowed into the 
upholstery. But now they emerged. They 
formed a ragged ring around the skimmer. 

Kress licked his lips, turned, and moved 
quickly to Lissandra's skimmer. 

He stopped before he was halfway there. 
Things were moving inside that one, too. 
Great maggoty things half-seen by the light 
of the moon. 

Kress whimpered and retreated back 
toward the house. Near the front door, he 
looked up. 

He counted a dozen long, white shapes 
creeping back and forth across the walls of 
the building. Four of them were clustered 
close together near the top of the unused 
belfry, where the carrion hawk had once 
roosted. They were carving something. A 
face. A very recognizable face. 

Kress shrieked and ran back inside. He 
headed for his liquor cabinet. 




"The administration unveiled its new economic policies today, but, fortunately, r 

one paid any attention and no harm was done. ". 



A sufficient quantity of drink brought him 
the easy oblivion he sought. But he woke. 
Despite everything, he woke. He had a ter- 
rific headache, and he stank, and he was 
hungry. Oh, so very hungry! He had never 
been so hungry. 

Kress knew it was not his own stomach 
hurting, 

A white sandking watched him from atop 
the dresser in his bedroom, its antennae 
movingfaintly.lt was as big astheoneinthe 
skimmer the night before. He tried not to 
shrink away. "I'll . .. I'll feed you," he said to 
it. "I'll feed you." His mouth was horribly dry, 
sandpaper-dry. He licked his lips and fled 
from the room. 

The house was full of sandkings; he had 
to be careful where he put his feet. They all 
seemed busy on errands of their own. They 
were making modifications in his house, 
burrowing into or out of his walls, carving 
things. Twice he saw his own likeness star- 
ing out at him from unexpected places. The 
faces were warped, twisted, livid with fear. 
He went outside to get the bodies that 
had been rotting in the yard, hoping to ap- 
pease the white maw's hunger. They were 
gone, both of them. Kress remembered 
how easily the mobiles could carry things 
many times their own weight. 

It was terrible to think that the maw was 
still hungry after all of that. 

When Kress reentered the house, a col- 
umn of sandkings was wending its way 
down the stairs. Each carried a piece of his 
shambler. The head seemed to look at him 
reproachfully as it went by. * 

Kress emptied his freezers, his cabinets, 
everything, piling all the food in the house 
in the center of his kitchen floor. A dozen 
whites waited to take it away. They avoided 
the frozen food, leaving it to thaw in a great 
puddle, but carried off everything else. 

When all the food was gone, Kress felt his 
own hunger pangs abate just a bit, though 
he had not eaten a thing. But he knew the 
respite would be short-lived. Soon the maw 
would be hungry again. He had to feed it. 
Kress knew what to do. He went to his 
communicator. "Malada," he began casu- 
ally when the first of his friends answered, 
"I'm having a small party tonight. I realize 
this is terribly short notice, but I hope you 
can make it. I really do." 

He called Jad Rakkis next, and then the 
others. By the time he had finished, five of 
them had accepted his invitation. Kress 
hoped that would be enough. 

Kress met his guests outside— the 
mobiles had cleaned up remarkably 
quickly, and the grounds looked almost as 
they had before the. battle— and walked 
them to his front door. He let them enter first. 
He did not follow. 

When four of them had gone through, 
Kress finally worked up his courage. He 
closed the door behind his latest guest, 
ignoring the startled exclamations that 
soon turned into shrill gibbering, and 
sprinted for the skimmer the man had ar- 
rived in. He slid in safely, thumbed the 



Startplate. and swore. It was programmed 
to lift only in response to its owner's 
thumbprint, of course. 

Rakkis was the next to arrive. Kress ran to 
his skimmer as it set down and seized Rak- 
kis by the arm as he was climbing out, "Get 
back in, quickly," he said, pushing. "Take 
me to the city. Hurry, Jad. Ge! out of here!" 

But Rakkis only stared at him and would 
not move. "Why. whai's wrong, Simon? I 
don't understand. What about your party?" 

And then it was too late, because the 
loose sand all around them was stirring, 
and the red eyes were staring at them, and 
the mandibles were clacking. Rakkis made 
a choking sound and moved to get back in 
his skimmer, but a pair of mandibles 
snapped shut about his ankle, and sud- 
denly he was. on his knees, The sand 
seemed to boil with subterranean activity 
Rakkis thrashed and cried terribly as they 
tore him apart, Kress could hardly bear to 
watch. 

After that, he did not try to escape again, 
When it was all over, he cleaned out what 
remained in his liquor cabinet and got ex- 
tremely drunk. It would be the last time he 
would enjoy that luxury, he knew. The only 
alcohol remaining in the house was stored 
down in the wine cellar, 

Kress did not touch a bite of food the 
entire day, but he fell asleep feeling 
bloated, sated at last, the awful hunger 
vanquished. His last thoughts before the 
nightmares took him were about whom he 
could ask out tomorrow 

Morning was hot and dry. Kress opened 
his eyes to see the white sandking on his 
dresser again, He shut his eyes again 
quickly, hoping the dream would leave him. 
It did not, and he could not go back to 
sleep, and soon he found himself staring at 
the thing. 

He stared for almost five minutes before 
the strangeness of it dawned on hirn; the 
sandking was not moving. 

The mobiles could be preternaturally 
still, to be sure. He had seen them wait. and 
watch a thousand times. But always there 
was some motion about them: The mandi- 
bles clacked, the legs twitched, the long, 
fine antennae stirred and swayed. 

But the sandking on his dresser was 
completely still. 

Kress rose, holding his breath, not daring 
to hope. Could it be dead? Could some- 
thing have killed it? He walked across the 
room, 

The eyes were glassy and black. The 
creature seemed swollen, somehow, as if it 
were soft and rotting inside, filling up with 
gas that pushed outward at the plates of 
white armor, 

Kress reached out a trembling hand and 
touched it. 

It was warm; hot even, and growing hot- 
ter, But it did not move. 

He pulled his hand back, and as he did, 
a segment of the sandking's white exo- 
skeleton tell away from it. The flesh beneath 
was the same color, but softer-looking, 



swollen and feverish. And it almost seemed 
to throb. 

Kress backed away and ran to the door. 

Three more white mobiles lay in his hall. 
They were all like the one in his bedroom. 

He ran down the stairs, jumping over 
sandkings. None of them moved. The 
house was full of them, all dead, dying, 
comatose, whatever. Kress did not care 
what was wrong with them. Just so they 
could not move. 

He found four of them inside his skimmer. 
He picked them up, one by one, and threw 
them as far as he could, Damned 
monsters. He slid back in, on the ruined 
half-eaten seats, and thumbed the 
startplate. 

Nothing happened. 

Kress tried again and again. Nothing. It 
wasn't fair. This was h/s skimmer. It ought to 
start. Why wouldn't it lift? He didn't under- 
stand. 

Finally he got out and checked, expect- 
ing the worst. He found it. The sandkings 
had torn apart his gravity grid. He was 
trapped. He was still trapped. 

Grimly Kress marched back into the. 
house. He went to his gallery and found the 
antique ax that had hung next to the throw- 
ing sword he had used on Cath m'Lane. He 
set to work. The sandkings did not stir even 
as he chopped them to pieces. But they 
splattered when he made the first cut, the 



bodies almost bursting. Inside was awful; 
strange half-formed organs, a viscous red- 
dish ooze that looked almost like human 
blood, and the yellow ichor, 

Kress destroyed twenty of them before 
he realized the futility of what he was doing. 
The mobiles were nothing, really Besides, 
there were so many of them. He could work 
for a day and night and still not kill them all. 

He had io go, down into the wine cellar 
and use the ax on the maw. 

Resolute, he started toward the cellar. He 
got within sight of the door, then stopped. 

It was not a door anymore. The walls had 
been eaten away, so that the hole was twice 
the size it had been, and round. A pit, that 
was all. There was no sign that there had 
ever been a door nai led shut over that black 
abyss. 

A ghastly, choking, fetid odor seemed to 
come from below. 

And the walls were wet and bloody and 
covered with patches of white tungus. 

And worst, it was breathing. 

Kress stood across the. room and felt the 
warm wind wash over him as it exhaled, 
and he tried not to choke, and when the 
wind reversed direction, he fled. 

Back in the living room he destroyed 
three more mobiles and collapsed. What 
was happening? He didn't understand. 

Then he remembered the only person 
who might understand. Kress went to his 




"You notice how time appears to slow down whenever he starts talking?' 



communicator again, stepped on a sand- 
king in his haste, and prayed fervently that 
the device still worked. 

When Jala Wo answered, he broke down 
and told her everything. 

She let him talk without interruption, no 
expression save for a slight frown on her 
gaunt, pale face. When Kress had finished, 
she said only, "I ought to leave you there." 
Kress began to blubber. "You can't. Help 
me, I'll pay — " 
"I ought to." Wo repeated, "but I won't." 
"Thank you," Kress said. "Oh, thank—" 
"Quiet," said Wo. "Listen to me. This is 
your own doing. Keep your sandkings well, 
and they are courtly ritual warriors. You 
turned yours into something else, with siar- 
. vation and torture. You were their god. You 
made them what they are. That maw in your 
cellar is sick, still suffering from the wound 
you gave it. It is probably insane. Its behav- 
ior is . . . unusual. 

"You have to get out of there quickly. The 
mobiles are not dead, Kress. They are dor- 
mant. I told you the exoskeleton falls off 
when they grow larger. Normally, in fact, it 
falls off much earlier. I have never heard of 
sandkings growing as large as yours while 
still in the insectoid stage. It is another re- 
sult of crippling the white maw, I would say. 
That does not matter. 

"What matters is the metamorphosis your 
sandkings are now undergoing. As the 
maw grows, you see, it gets progressively 
more intelligent. Its psionic powers 
strengthen, and its mind becomes more 
sophisticated, more ambitious. The ar- 
mored mobiles are useful enough when the 
maw is tiny and only semisentient, but now 
it needs better servants, bodies with more 
capabilities. Do you understand? The 
mobiles are all going to give birth to a new 
breed of sandking. I can't say exactly what 
it will look like. Each maw designs its own, 
to fit its perceived needs and desires. But it 
will be biped, with four arms and opposa- 
ble thumbs. It will be able to construct and 
operate advanced machinery. The indi- 
vidual sandkings will not be senlient. But 
the maw will be very sentient indeed." 

Kress was gaping at Wo's image on the 
viewscreen. "Your workers," he said, with 
an effort. "The ones who came out here . . 
who installed the tank ..." 

Wo managed a faint smile. "Shade," she 
said. 

"Shade is a sandking," Kress repeated 
numbly. 'And you sold me a tank of . . . of . . . 
infants, ah ... " 

"Do not be absurd," Wo said. "A first- 
stage sandking is more like a sperm than 
like an infant. The wars temper and control 
them in nature. Only one in a hundred 
reaches the second stage. Only one in a 
thousand achieves the third and final 
plateau and becomes like Shade. Adult 
sandkings are not sentimental about the 
small maws. There are too many of them, 
and their mobiles are pests." She sighed. 
'And all this talk wastes time. That white 
sandking is going to waken to full sentience 
soon. It is not going to need you any longer, 



and it hates you, and it will be very hungry 
The transformation is taxing. The maw must 
eat enormous amounts both before and af- 
ter. So you have to get out of there. Do you 
understand?" 

"I can'?," Kress said. "My skimmer is de- 
stroyed, and I can't get any of the others to 
start. I don't know how to reprogram them. 
Can you come out for me?" 

"Yes," said Wo. "Shade and I will le'ave at 
once, but it is more than two hundred 
kilometers from Asgard to you, and there is 
equipment that we will need to deal with the 
deranged sandking you've created. You 
cannot wait there. You have two feet. Walk. 
Go due east, as near as you can determine, 
as quickly as you can. The land out there is 
pretty desolate. We can find you easily with 
an aerial search, and you'll be safely away 
from the sandkings. Do you understand?" 

"Yes," Kress said. "Yes, oh, yes." 

They signed off, and he walked quickly 
toward the door. He was halfway there 
when he heard the noise, a sound halfway 



^Something moved 

from shadow into light. 

A paie shape on 

the seat It was as long 

as his forearm. 

Its mandibles clacked 

together softly. ... 

Kress slowly backed away3 



between a pop and a crack. 

One of the sandkings had split open. 
Four tiny hands covered with pinkish- 
yellow blood came up out of the gap and 
began to push the dead skin aside. 

Kress began to run. 

He had not counted on the heat. 

The hills were dry and rocky. Kress ran 
from the house as quickly as he could, ran 
until his ribs ached and his breath was 
coming in gasps. Then he walked, but as 
soon as he had recovered, he began to run 
again. For almost an hour he ran and 
walked, ran and walked, beneath the 
fierce, hot sun. He sweated freely and 
wished that he had thought to bring some 
water, and he watched the sky in hopes of 
seeing Wo and Shade. 

He was not made for this. It was too hot 
and too dry, and he was in no condition. But 
he kept himself going with the memory of 
the way. the maw had breathed and the 
thought of the wriggling little things that by 
now were surely crawling all over his house. 
He hoped Wo and Shade would know how 
to deal with therfi. 

He had his own plans for Wo and Shade. 



It was all their fault, Kress had decided, 
and they would suffer for it. Lissandra was 
dead, but he knew others in her profession. 
He would have his revenge. This he prom- 
ised himself a hundred times as he strug- 
gled and sweated his way eastward, 

At least he hoped itwas east. He was not 
that good at directions, and he wasn't cer- 
tain which way he had run in his initial 
panic, but since then he had made an effort 
to bear due east, as Wo had suggested. 

When he had been running for several 
hours, with no sign of rescue. Kress began 
to grow certain that he had miscalculated 
his direction. 

When several more hours passed, he 
began to grow afraid. What if Wo and 
Shade could not find him? He would die out 
here. He hadn't eaten in two days, he was 
weak and frightened, his throat was raw for 
want of water. He couldn't keep going, The 
sun was sinking now, and he'd be com- 
pletely lost in the dark. What was wrong? 
Had the sandkings eaten Wo and Shade? 
The fear was on him again, filling him, and 
with it a great thirst and a terrible hunger. 
But Kress kept going. He stumbled now 
when he tried to run, and twice he fell. The 
second time he scraped his hand on a 
rock, and it came away bloody. He sucked 
at it as he walked, and he worried about 
infection. 

The sun was on the horizon behind him. 
The ground grew a little cooler, for which 
Kress was grateful. He decided to walk 
until last light and settle down for the night. 
Surely he was far enough from the sand- * 
kings to be safe, and Wo and Shade would 
find him come morning. 

When he topped the next rise, he saw the 
outline of a house in front of him. 

It wasn't as big as his own house, but it 
was big enough. It was habitation, safety. 
Kress shouted and began to run toward it. 
Food and drink, he had to have nourish- 
ment, he could taste the meal already. He 
was aching with hunger. He ran down the 
hill toward the house, waving his arms and 
shouting to the inhabitants. The light was 
almost gone now, but he could still make out 
a half-dozen children playing in the twilight. 
"Hey there," he shouted. "Help, help." 
They came running toward him. 
Kress stopped suddenly. "No," he said, 
"oh, no. Oh, no." He backpedaled, slipped 
on the sand, got up, and tried to run again. 
They caught him easily They were ghastly 
little things with bulging eyes and dusky 
orange skin. He struggled, but it was use- 
less. Small as they were, each of them had 
four arms, and Kress had only two. 

They carried him toward the house. It 
was a sad, shabby house, built of crum- 
bling sand, but the door was quite large, 
and dark, and it breathed. That was terri- 
ble, but it was not the thing that set Simon 
Kress to screaming, He screamed be- 
cause of the others, the little orange chil- 
dren who came crawling out of the cas- 
tle, and watched impassively as he 
passed. 
All of them had his face. DO 



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WHITG DWARFS 



of observational astronomers in Meso- 
potamia and in Alexandria in the pre- 
ceding centuries— to say nothing of the 
Chinese and Korean astronomical 
schools — and it would be astonishing if 
they had noticed nothing. (The ancient 
Egyptian phrase for the planet Mars trans- 
lates to "the red Horus," Horus being the 
imperial falcon deity. Thus Egyptian as- 
tronomy noted remarkable coloration in ce- 
lestial objects. But the description of Sinus 
mentions nothing notable about its color.) 
The Dogon have knowledge impossible 
to acquire without the telescope. The 
straightforward conclusion is that Ihey had 
contact with an advanced technical civili- 
zation. The only question is, Which civiliza- 
tion — extraterrestrial or European? 

Far more credible than an ancient ex- 
traterrestrial educational foray among the 
Dogon might be a comparatively recent 
contact with scientifically literate Euro- 
.peans who conveyed to the Dogon the re- 
markable European myth of Sirius and its 
white dwarf companion, a myth that has all 
the superficial earmarks of a splendidly in- 
ventive tall story. Perhaps the Western con- 
tact came from a European visitor to Africa, 
or from the local French schools, or 
perhaps from contacts in Europe by West 
Africans inducted to fight for the French in 
World War I, 

The likelihood that these stories arise 
from contact with Europeans instead of 
with extraterrestrials has been increased 
by a recent astronomical finding: A Cornell 
University research team, led by James 
Elliot, employing a high-aliiiude airborne 
observatory over the Indian Ocean, in 1977 
discovered that the planet Uranus is sur- 
rounded by rings— a finding never hinted 
at by ground-based observations. Ad- 
vanced extraterrestrial beings viewing our 
solar system upon approach to Earth 
would have little difficulty discovering the 
rings of Uranus. But European astronomers 
in the nineteenth and early twentieth cen- 
turies would have had nothing to say in this 
regard. The fact that the Dogon do not talk 
of another planet with rings beyond Saturn 
suggests to me that their informants were 
European, not extraterrestrial. 

In 1844 the German astronomer F. W 
Bessel discovered that the long-term mo- 
tion of Sirius itself (Sirius A) was not straight 
but, rather, wavy against the background of 
more distant stars. Bessel proposed that 
there was a dark companion to Sirius 
whose gravitational influence was produc- 
ing the observed sinusoidal motion. Since 
the period of the wiggle was 50 years, Bes- 
sel deduced that the dark companion had 
a 50-year period in the joint motion of Sirius 
A and Sirius B about their common center 
of mass. 

Eighteen years later Aivan G. Clark, dur- 
ing the testing of a new 18.5-inch refracting 
telescope, accidentally discovered the 



companion, Sirius B, by direct visual ob- 
servation. From the relative motions, New- 
tonian gravitational theory permits us to es- 
timate the masses of Sirius A and B. The 
companion turns out to have a mass just 
about the same as the sun's. But Sirius B is 
almost 10,000 limes fainter than Sirius A, 
even though their masses are about the 
same and though they are just the same 
distance from the earth. These facts can be 
reconciled only if Sirius B has a much 
smaller radius or lower temperature. 

But in the late nineteenth century it was 
believed by astronomers that stars of the 
same mass had approximately the same 
temperature, and by the turn of the century 
it was widely held that the temperature of 
Sirius B was not remarkably low. Spectro- 
scopic observations by Walter S. Adams in 
1915 confirmed this contention. Hence, 
Sirius B must be very small. 

We know today that it is only as big as the 
earth. Because of its size and color it is 
called a white dwarf. But if Sirius B is much 
smaller than Sirius A, its density must be 
very much greater. Accordingly, the con- 
cept of Sirius B as an extremely dense star 
was widely held in the first few decades of 
this century. 

The peculiar nature of the companion of 
Sirius was extensively reported in books 
and in the press. For example, in Sir Arthur 
Stanley Eddington's book The Nature of the 
Physical World, we read: "Astronomical evi- 
dence seems to leave practically no doubt 
that in the so-called white dwarf stars the 
density of matter far transcends anything , 
of which we have terrestrial experience; in 
the Companion of Sirius, for example, the 
density is about a ton to the cubic inch. This 
condition is explained by the fact that the 
high temperature and correspondingly in- 
tense agitation of the material breaks up 
(ionizes) the outer electron system of the 
atoms, so that the fragments can be 
packed much more closely together," 
Within a year of its 1928 publication, this 
book saw ten reprintings in English. It was 
translated into many languages, including 
French. 

The idea that white dwarfs were made of 
electron degenerate matter had been pro- 
posed by R. H. Fowler in 1925 and was 
quickly accepted. On the other hand, the 
proposal that white dwarfs were made of 
"relativistically degenerate" matter was 
first made in the period 1931 to 1934, in 
Great Britain, by the Indian astrophysicist 
S. Chandrasekhar; the idea was greeted 
with substantial skepticism by astronomers 
who had not grown up with quantum me- 
chanics. One of the most vigorous skeptics 
was Eddington. The debate was covered in 
the scientific press and was accessible to 
the intelligent layman. All this was occur- 
ring just before Griaule encountered the 
Dogon Sirius legend. 

In my mind's eye I picture a Gallic visitor 
to the Dogon people, in what was then 
French West Africa, in the early part of this 
century. He may have been a diplomat, an 
explorer, an adventurer, or an early an- 



thropologist. Such people — ior example, 
Richard Francis Burton — were in West Af- 
rica many decades earlier. 

~ r ie conversation turns to is:'ono'~iic.:al 
lore. Sirius is the brightest star in the sky, 
The Dogon regale the visitor with their 
Sirius mythology. Then, smiling politely, ex- 
pectantly, they inquire of their visitor what 
his Sirius myths might be. Perhaps he re- 
fers, before answering, to a well-worn book 
in his baggage. The white dwarf compan- 
ion of Sirius being a current astronomical 
sensation, the traveler exchanges a spec- 
tacular myth for a routine one, 

After he leaves, his account is remem- 
bered, retold, and eventually incorporated 
into the corpus of Dogon mythology — or at 
least into a collateral branch (perhaps filed 
under "Sirius myth's, bleached peoples' 
account"). When Griaule made mythologi- 
cal inquiries in the 1930s and 1940s, he had 
his own European Sirius myth played back 
to him. 

This full-cycle return of a myth to its cul- 
ture of origin through an unwary an- 
thropologist might sound unlikely if there 
were not so many examples of it in an- 
thropological iore. I here recount a few 
cases; 

In the first decade of the twentieth cen- 
tury a neophyte anthropologist was collect- 
ing accounts of ancient traditions from 
Native American populations in the- South- 
west. His concern was to write down the 
traditions, almost exclusively oral, before 
they vanished altogether. The young Native 
Americans had already lost appreciable 
contact with their heritage, and the an- 
thropologist concentrated on .elderly mem- 
bers of the tribe, One day he found himself 
sitting outside a hogan with an aged but 
lively and cooperative informant, 

"Tell me about the ceremonies o.f your 
ancestors at the birth of a child." 

"Just one moment." 

The old Indian slowly shuffled into the 
darkened depths of the hogan. After a 
15-rninute interval he reappeared with a 
remarkably useful and detailed description 
of postpartum ceremonials, including ritu- 
als connected wtr oreacn presentation, af- 
terbirth, umbilical cord, first breath, and 
first cry. Encouraged and writing feverishly, 
the anthropologist systematically went 
through the full list of rites of passage, in- 
cluding puberty, marriage, childbearing, 
and death. In each case the informant dis- 
appeared into the hogan and emerged a 
quarter hour later with a rich set of answers. 

The anthropologist was astonished. 
Could there be, he wondered, a yet older 
informant, perhaps infirm and bedridden, 
within the hogan? Eventually he could resist 
no longer and summoned the courage to 
ask his informant whal he did at each re- 
treat into the hogan. The old man smiled, 
withdrew for the last time, and returned, 
clutching a well-thumbed volume of the 
Dictionary of American Ethnography, which 
had been compiled by anthropologists in 
the previous decade. The poor white man, 



he must have thought, is eager-well- 
meaning, and ignorant He does not have a 
copy of this marvelous book, which con- 
tain's the traditions of my people. I shall tell 
him what it says. 

My two other stories recount the adven- 
tures of an extraordinary physician, Dr. D. 
Carleton Gajdusek, who for many years 
has studied kuru, a rare viral disease, 
among the inhabitants of New Guinea. For 
this work he was the recipient of the 1976 
Nobel Prize for medicine. I am grateful to 
Dr. Gajdusek for taking the trouble to check 
my memory of his stories, which I first heard 
from him many years ago. New Guinea is 
an island where the mountainous terrain 
separates almost completely one valley 
people from another. As a result there is a 
great variety of cultural traditions. 

In the spring of 1957 Gajdusek and Dr. 
Vincent Zigas, a medical officer with the 
Public Health Service of what was then 
called the Territory of Papua and New 
Guinea, traveled with an Australian admin- 
istrative patrol officer from the Purosa Val- 
ley through the ranges of the South Fore 
cultural and linguistic-group region to the 
village of Agakamatasa on an exploratory 
visit into "uncontrolled territory." Stone im- 
plements were still in use, and there re- 
mained a tradition of cannibalism within 
each living group. Gajdusek and his party 
found cases of kuru, which is spread by 
cannibalism (but most often not through 
the digestive tract), in this most remote of 
the South Fore villages. 

They decided to spend a few days, mov- 
ing into one of the large and traditional 
wa'e, or men's houses (the music from one 
of which, incidentally, was sent to the stars 
on the Voyager phonograph record). The 
windowless, low-doored, smoky thatched 
house was partitioned so that the visitors 
could neither stand erect nor stretch out. It 
was divided into many sleeping compart- 
ments, each with its own small fire, around 
which men and boys would huddle in 
groups to sleep and keep warm during the 
cold nights at an elevation of more than 
6,000 feet, an altitude higher than Den- 
ver's. To accommodate their visitors, the 
men and boys gleefully tore out the interior 
structure of half of the ceremonial men's 
house, and during two days and nights of 
pouring rain Gajdusek and his companions 
were housebound on a high, windswept, 
cloud-covered ridge. 

The young Fore initiates wore bark 
strands braided into their hair, which was 
covered with pig grease. They wore huge 
nose pieces, the penises of pigs as 
armbands, and the genitalia of opossums 
and tree-climbing kangaroos as pendants 
around their necks. 

The hosts sang their tradiiional songs all 
through the first night and on through the 
following rainy day. "To enhance our rap- 
port with them." as Gajdusek says, "we 
began to sing songs in exchange — among 
them such Russian songs as 'Otchi'chor- 
nye' and 'Moi kostyor v tumane sve- 
tit' . . ."This was received very well, and the 



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Agakamatasa villagers requested many 
dozens of repetitions in the smoky South 
Fore longhouse to the accompaniment of 
the driving rainstorm. 

Some years later Gajdusek was en- 
gaged in the collection of indigenous 
music in another part of the South Fore 
region and asked a group of young men to 
run through their repertoire of traditional 
songs. To Gajdusek's amazement and 
amusement, they produced a somewhat 
altered but still clearly recognizable version 
of "Otchi chomye." Many of the singers 
apparently thought the song traditional, 
and later still Gajdusek found the song ex- 
ported even farther afield, with none of the 
singers having any idea of its source-. 

We can easily imagine some sort of world 
ethnomusicology survey going to an ex- 
ceptionally obscure part of New Guinea 
and discovering that the natives had a tra- 
ditional song that sounded in rhythm, 
music, and words remarkably like "Otchi 
chomye." If they were to believe that no 
previous contact with Westerners had oc- 
curred, a great mystery could be posited. 

Later that same year Gajdusek was vis- 
ited by several Australian physicians, 
eager to understand the remarkable find- 
ings about the transmission of kuru from 
patient to patient by cannibalism. Gaj- 
dusek described the theories of the origin 
of many diseases.held by the Fore people, 
who did not believe that illnesses were 
caused by the spirits of the dead or that 
malicious deceased relatives, jealous of 
the living, inflicted disease on those of their 
surviving kinsmen who offended them, as 
the pioneering anthropologist Bronislaw 
Malinowski had recounted for the coastal 
peoples of Melanesia. Instead, the Fore at- 
tributed most diseases to malicious sor- 
cery, which any offended and avenging 
male, young or old, could execute without 
the aid of specially trained sorcerers. 

There was a special sorcery explanalion 
for kuru, but also for chronic lung disease, 
leprosy, yaws, and so on. These beliefs had 
been long established and firmly held, but 
as the Fore people witnessed yaws yielding 
entirely to the penicillin injections of Gaj- 
dusek and his group, they quickly agreed 
that the sorcery explanation of yaws was in 
error and abandoned it; it has never resur- 
faced in subsequent years, fl wish West- 
erners would be as quick to abandon obso- 
lete or erroneous social ideas as were the 
Fore of New Guinea.) Modern treatment of 
leprosy caused its sorcery explanation to 
disappear as well, although more slowly, 
and the Fore people today laugh at these 
early opinions on yaws and leprosy. 

But the traditional views on the origin of 
kuru have maintained themselves, since 
the Westerners have been unable lo cure or 
explain, in a manner satisfactory to them, 
the origin and nature of this disease. Thus, 
the Fore people- remain intensely skeptical 
of Western explanations for kuru and retain 
firmly their view that sorcery is the cause. 

One ot the Australian physicians, visiting 
an adjacent village with one of Gajdusek's 



native informants as translator, spent the 
day examining kuru patients and indepen- 
dently-acquiring information. He returned 
the same evening to inform Gajdusek that 
he was mistaken about people not believ- 
ing in the spirits of the dead as the cause of 
disease, and that he was further in error in 
holding that they had abandoned the idea 
of sorcery as the cause of yaws. The 
people held, he continued, that a" dead 
body could become invisible and that the 
unseen spirit of the dead person could 
enter the skin of a patient at night through 
an imperceptible break and induce yaws. 
The Australian's informant had even 
sketched with a stick in the sand the ap- 
pearance of these ghostly beings. The vil- 
lagers had carefully drawn a circle and a 
few squiggly lines within. Outside the cir- 
cle, they explained, it was black; inside the 
circle, bright— a sand portrait of malevo- 
lent and pathogenic spirits. 

Upon inquiry of the young translator, 
Gajdusek discovered that the Australian 



£Can you be sure natives 

are not humoring 

you or pulling your leg? 

If a stranger came 

into town and asked where 

babies come from, I'd 

be tempted to talk about 

storks and cabbages.^ 



physician had conversed with some of the 
older men of the village who were well 
known to Gajdusek and who were often his 
house and laboratory guests. They had at- 
tempted to explain that the shape of the 
"germ" producing yaws was spiral — the 
spirochete form they had seen many times 
through Gajdusek's dark-field microscope. 
They had to admit it was invisible — it could 
be seen only through the microscope— 
and when pressed by the Australian physi- 
cian on whether this "represented" the 
dead person, they had to admit that Gaj- 
dusek had stressed that it could be caught 
from close contact with yaws lesions, as, tor 
example, by sleeping with a person with 

I can well remember ihe first time I looked 
through a microscope. After focusing my 
eyes up near the ocular only to examine my 
eyelashes, and then peering farther into 
the pitch-black interior of the barrel, I finally 
managed to look straight down the micro- 
scope tube lo be dazzled by an illuminated 
disk of light. It takes a little while for the eye 
to train itself to examine what is in the disk. 

Gajdusek's demonstration to the Fore 
people was so powerful — after all, the al- 



ternatives entirely lacked so concrete a 
reality — that many accepted his story, even 
apart from his ability to cure the disease 
with penicillin. Perhaps some considered 
the spirochetes in the microscope an 
amusing example of white-man myth and 
minor magic, and wfign another white man 
arrived querying the origin of disease, they 
politely returned to him the idea they be- 
lieved he would be comfortable with. Were 
Western contact with the Fore people to 
cease for 50 years, it seems to me entirely 
possible that a future visitor would.discover 
to his astonishment that the Fore people 
somehow had knowledge of medical mi- 
crobiology, despite their largely pre- 
technological culture. 

All three of these stories underline the 
almost inevitable problems encountered in 
trying to extract from a "primitive" people 
their ancient legends. Can you be sure that 
others have not come before you and de- 
stroyed the pristine state of the native 
myth? Can you be sure that the natives are 
not humoring you or pulling your leg? 

Malinowski thought he had discovered a 
people in the Trobriand Islands who had not 
worked out the connection between sexual 
intercourse and childbirth. When asked 
how children were conceived, they 
supplied him with an elaborate mythic 
structure prominently featuring celestial in- 
tervention. Amazed, Malinowski asserted 
that was not how it was done at all; he 
supplied them instead with the version so 
popular in the West today — including a 
nine-month gestation period. "Impossible," 
replied the Melanesians. "Do you not see 
that woman over there with her six-month- 
old child? Her husband has been on a voy- 
age to another island for two years." 

Is it more likely that the Melanesians were 
ignorant of the begetting of children or that 
they were gently chiding Malinowski? If 
some peculiar-looking sparger came into 
my town and asked me where babies came 
from, I'd certainly be tempted to tell him 
about storks and cabbages. Prescientific 
people are people. Individually they are as 
clever as we are. Field interrogation of in- 
formants from a different culture is not al- 
ways easy. 

I wonder whether the Dogon. having 
heard from a Westerner an extraordinarily 
inventive myth about the star Sirius— a star 
already important in their own mythol- 
ogy — did not carefully play it back to the 
visiting French anthropologist. Is this not 
more likely than a visit by extraterrestrial 
spacefarers to ancienl Egypt, with one 
cluster of hard scientific knowledge, in 
striking contradiction to common sense, 
preserved by oral tradition over the millen- 
nia, and only in West Africa? 

There are too many loopholes, too many 
alternative explanations, for such a myth to 
provide reliable evidence of past extrater- 
restrial contact. If there are extraterres- 
trials, I think it much more likely that un- 
manned planetary spacecraft and large 
radiotelescopes will prove lo be the means 
of their detection. OO 



wizards ruEXT aruirui 



■jONTIf-.utS FROM PAGE 

and direct research at Stanford. 

In 1968. alter leaving Syntex, Zaffaroni 
started Alza Corp.. which is putting into 
practice his novel ideas about drug deliv- 
ery. Zaffaroni has always fell that methods 
of dispensing medications have not. pro- 
gressed much since the time of the ancient 
Egyptians. So Zaffaroni set out with some 
novel ideas: delivering drugs through the 
skin via impregnated patches; developing 
a birth-control device that releases tiny 
amounts of progesterone inside the uterus 
for a whole year; devising drug reservoirs 
akin to microminiaturized spaceships that, 
after being swallowed like pills, become 
anchored inside the body to release finely 
controlled amounts of medication. 

Alza has also produced an imaginative 
offshoot: Dynapol Corp., which is develop- 
ing another of Zaffaroni's ideas— food ad- 
ditives and preservatives so structured that 
they harmlessly pass through the stomach 
without entering the bloodstream to cause 
possible damage. This is done by "leash- 
ing" the smaller additive and preservative 
molecules to harmless inert molecules that 
are too big to penetrate the walls of the 
stomach. 

Meanwhile, Djerassi's Zoecon — from the 
Greek word zoe {"life") and con for 
control — began to explore the fascinating 
idea of synthetically imitating the growth- 
regutating hormones that are. naturally 
present in insects. The idea was to use 
these as novel insecticides— harmless to 
humans and other vertebrates but deadly 
to specific insects. Zoecon has created a 
number of successful products, already 
being marketed, including an insect- 
growth regulator that keeps mosquitoes 
and flies from maturing into destructive 
adults from their harmless larval stages. 
The same product, applied differently, 
prolongs the life of the silkworm, thereby 
inducing it to produce higher yields of silk. 
This was Zoecon's first product to be in- 
troduced in Japan. Another of the compa- 
ny's projects is aimed at developing in- 
sect pheromones, or sex attractants, as 
possible lures for use on sticky traps. 

Federal regulations have been a barrier 
to more rapid progress in wider applica- 
tions of hormonal insecticides. Instead of 
encouraging the American farmer to use 
something as cleverly contrived and as 
safe as synthetic copies of the insects' own 
hormones, government regulatory agen- 
cies have been erecting excessive and 
sometimes picayune obstacles in the way, 
Similarly Alza has been delayed in the in- 
troduction of some of its devices. (Both 
Zoecon and Alza are-now subsidiaries of 
larger companies. Alza is a subsidiary of 
Ciba-Geigy; Zoecon is part of Occidental 
Petroleum; Zaffaroni and Djerassi continue 
to head their respective companies,) 

Not one to be deterred by small set- 
backs, Zaffaroni predicts a greal future for 




LIFE FQflMS 

THE MASTER ILLUMINATOR 



Cousteau on to- under water ph 
is master image-maker and pre 
DSSible — a combination that * 



FOOD FOR ZERO-G— Everybody knows that Tang is the breakfast drink 

n-auis. but man does not live on synthetic 

you on a cook's tour o!. outer space, 

liz&d frankfurters, cobalt-80 ham steaks 

preparing for the shuttle and other spac 

because foods for zero-g will soon be 

some of fhem on supermarket shelves. 



asiro- 
xt month we'll take 
you'll be introduced to thermostabi- 
sxploding chili The fare that NASA is 
is more than just a curlos'% however, 
g down to Earth. You may soon find 
Dava Sobet in the September Omni. 



LIFE FORMS— What? No green men? No ammonia-breathing silicon creatures? 
When we finally meet extraterrestrial life thej wont be if Not according to writer 
Gene Bylinsky Humanoids evolved to fit condrtions probably not duplicated off 
Earth. And silicon doesn'i form the cnemical bonds that make life pi 
carbon can do that. So forget about life on Jupiter-style gas gia-* 
neighbors only on planets that have plenty of carbon anci liquid water, in the next 
■Omni Bylinsky examines chemistry and evolution for a glimpse of the beings that 
may await us among the stars. Artist Wayne McLaughlin illustrates the possibilities. 



WITH SARASWAT1 IN THE BRONX-Exp 
the world , where the competition" is brutal 
vard or Stanford, but rather a high school 
e have the ability and the brain. 



'eading research centers of 
3= are great. No, it's not Har- 
lew York Students like Aran/ 
■e — if they choose to. Read 



B'ili Stuckey's fascinating profile of triumph and travail at Bronx High School of Sci- 
ence— a breeding ground for tomorrows Nober laureates — in the September Omni'. 



the applications of the new biology. "It's 
difficult right now to see the future applica- 
tions, because we are at the beginning of 
ihe recombinanl-DNA technology," he 
says. "It was difficult to map out the prod- 
ucts created by the transistor. But the ap- 
plications will be far, far wider. 

"The first things people can see right now 
to do with this new technology are to 
produce agents used in pharmacology, 
therapy, vaccines— produce all the rare 
chemicals that are in the body, develop 
plants with higher abilities to fix nitrogen or 
with higher protein levels, These are the 
simplest ideas. If you want to let yourself go 
further out, who is to say we can't construct 
biological memories — DNA memories? 
.The way biological memories are con- 
structed is most fantastic, in very small 
space." 

But there is a problem. It's not easy to 
anchor the technology by patents, since 
the basic work is coming out mainly from 
the universities. This makes it hard for this 
new industry to develop a capital base. 
A DELICATE BALANCE 

And this is one of the paradoxes of the 
Valley of the Giants: The scientist- 
businessman, just as often as the 
academician-industrialist, must continually 
strive to balance pure research with practi- 
cal realities. Djerassi probably has been 
the most successful high-wire walker "I'm 
one of the iew people at Stanford, maybe 



anywhere," he says, "where for twenty 
years I've led a completely bigamous life, 
all that time serving as a professor of 
chemistry with a very large research group, 
and not just teaching courses, and at the 
same time being either a vice-president at 
Syntex or a president here at Zoecon. I 
think it was worthwhile for both places. 
1 became a much better academician 
and a much better government adviser by 
spending part of each day running a high- 
technology industrial enterprise. And I 
became a much better and more inno- 
vative corporate executive by being pri- 
marily a scientist, which is more difficult 
to learn than business. Business you can 
learn on the job. Science you cannot." 

It's unlikely that Djerassi could have led 
that kind of life anywhere else. Liberal- 
minded universities that encourage pro- 
fessors to participate in company building 
and to serve as consultants are the excep- 
tion ratherthanthe rule. Attempts abroad to 
duplicate the valley's remarkable com- 
pany-formation process have scored only 
the most moderate successes, Un- 
daunted, foreign investors have decided to 
settle for second best and have already 
begun pouring funds into Silicon Valley Pla- 
toons of West Germans can be seen sign- 
ing into local hotels on visits to semicon- 
ductor companies in which they now have 
substantial interests. The Japanese have 
gone further, setting up advanced com- 
panies staffed by American engineers and 



scientists. From these pioneering com- 
panies, the Japanese then pump the 
newest technology into their own burgeon- 
ing industries. This has led some inhabit- 
ants of the valley to fear that their peaceful 
abode will someday become a battle- 
ground between those two erstwhile World 
War II allies. 

The failure to clone Silicon Valley abroad 
is not really surprising. If we look back on 
the startling developments that have 
sprouted from this fertile center, it would be 
a mistake to underestimate the creative in- 
fluence and spirit of enirepreneurism that a 
few outstanding individuals — men like 
Terman, Shockley, and Djerassi — have 
generated in their wake. Their ability to 
transform new ideas into successful and 
innovative products undoubtedly has been 
a major force in attracting young talent to 
the valley, making it a remarkable breeding 
ground for new industries within less than a 
century's span. The history that they have 
helped to create and Silicon Valley's unique 
environment cannot instantly be dupli- 
cated. 

Whatever the future holds, the technologi- 
cal revolution that flared up in Silicon Valley 
shows few signs of sputtering out. Judging 
from the myriad new companies started in 
the last few years, only the first harvest has 
been reaped from the valley. Time will tell, 
but one thing is certain: The footsteps of 
that Palo Alto fly already have resounded 
around the world many times over. DO 




"Ge:~:!:srrien vvgVe hirea o'ticic-ncy experts to cut 



the dead wood . 



IfUTERV/IEUU 



Isaacs: No, I don't think so. But we don't 
have to define ail the safe areas of the sea, 
only a lew of them. Obviously, one doesn't 

want to put nuclear wastes in some place 
where, in the next thousand or so years, 
they will suddenly be subject to volcanic 
activity that will melt them and spew them 
out, Onedoesn'twantto use a place where 
there will be tectonic fissuring. Nor does 
one'want an area that's subject to upwell- 
ing. For instance, one wouldn't store such 
materials in the bottom of the Red Sea or 
the Gulf of California, which are newly ac- 
tive places— new features of this plan- 
et — where the continents are beginning to 
split apart. Or where there is clearly new 
subcrustal material coming up and new 
land being formed. It's too uncertain, 
Omni: Despite what we know about plate 
tectonics, is there still some risk? 
Isaacs: Zero risk is unobtainable. You can 
make the argument that twelve hundred 
people die every year of leukemia in the 
absence of a law requiring us to live under 
three- feet of concrete to protect ourselves 
from cosmic rays. You can argue that a 
person can be killed by falling from a five- 
meter wall. Yet we don't require all walls to 
be less than fifty centimeters high. Nor do 
we require that all bathing be done in ten 
liters pf water because it can be shown that 
drowning is possible in one hundred liters. 
We tolerate all sorts of conventional 
hazards. 

Omni: But there have been suggested al- 
ternatives to nuclear storage. Do you be- 
lieve that deep-subbottom storage is safer 
than burial in the earth? 
Isaacs: The ocean becomes a very power- 
ful barrier between these materials and the 
biosphere. There are many reasons forthis. 
We know what's going to happen in the 
deep ocean basins for the next million 
years. And there are great advantages to 
placing these wastes down deep under 
sea-floor sediments. The sediments prob- 
ably have an immense capacity for ion ex- 
change; they're, rich chemically, and the 
ultimate barrier is isotopic dilution of the 
radioactive materials. It makes a great deal 
of difference whether radioactive iodine- 
129 is released in these sediments or in, 
say, an austere chemical environment like 
Wisconsin. There's so much noimai iodine 
in the ocean that the radioactive isotope is 
strongly diluted. Another advantage is the 
extremely high pressure at those depths, 
which prevents the formation of expanding 
steam or gases within any container. Also, 
there are no fresh groundwater supplies 
that might be contaminated. The protection 
of such water supplies is an important 
criterion in present plans. Subseabed stor- 
age is not often considered for the ironic 
reason that there are no fresh groundwater 
supplies to protect, 

Omni: How deep below the sea floor are 
we talking about? 



Isaacs: About a kilometer and under six 
kilometers of water. We'd convert the 
wastes into a glasslike form or cement or 
ceramic or something of that nature. The 
wastes can be largely immobilized and put 
down in containers with sufficient spacing 
so that the heat generated by them cannot 
cause convection in the sediments. In the 
proper combination, we'd have a land re- 
pository that might generate power for 
twenty years while the wastes cool down. 
Omni: This source of energy — nuclear 
power — is only one of many marine 
sources that you and the Institute of Marine 
Resources have been studying. Can you 
touch on some of the others? 
Isaacs: Well, of course there are the ones 
we are already utilizing, the fossil fuels that 
ocean sediments hold. In addition to these, 
the five natural forms of energy in the sea 
that have the greatest promise are waves 
and swell, tides, currents, salinity gra- 
dients, and thermal gradients (including 
ice). There are also geothermal springs. 



6 Essentially, all 
man does is take things out 

of the ocean, and, 
unlike any other member of 

the marine food 

web, he does not put back 

things that are 

able to regenerate Iife3 



Omni: What about harnessing the energy 
of the Gulf Stream with underwater tur- 
bines? 
Isaacs: That idea exists, but the energy 

density is really very low. tf it's so practical, 
then, instead of building dams, why hasn't 
anyone anchored paddle wheels in the 
Mississippi River? Or the Amazon? It's a lot 
easier to do there than in the fast currents of 
the Gulf Stream. 

Omni: And what about the project now 
under way to attempt to extract methane 
from the fermentation of kelp plants har- 
vested from the southern California coasi? 
Isaacs: I'm not so sure about that. If that 
project were mine, my first experiment 
would be to go to the southern bayous and 
see how much methane I could extract 
from the fermentation of the water hya- 
cinths there. They're harvested free. Those 
hyacinths are a nuisance, and every year a 
few million tons are cleared and thrown 
away. Hyacinths may be as valuable as 
kelp, because both have the same general 
properties. At least, it would be a good 
place to start. 

Omni: The various forms of potential ma- 
rine energy you've mentioned— are they all 



related to energy-intensive uses, tunneling 
directly into electrical grids, for instance? 
Isaacs: No, they could be used for other 
purposes. Although salinity-gradient en- 
ergy is a very large potential source, rank^ 
ing in both total magnitude and energy 
density well above most sources other than 
chemical and nuclear fuels, we aren't cer- 
tain that it can be utilized with practical 
effectiveness, Yet it could be employed 
internally to desalinate brackish wafer. 
Thermal-gradient power can produce fresh 
water with power or air conditioning as a 
by-product. Tidal flow can be directed to 
"dredge" estuaries. Waves and current, of 
course, can be employed directly for ship 
propulsion. 

Omni: In a recent paper, "Power from the 
Sea — Forms and Prospects," you slated 
that "an Antarctic iceberg, melted for water 
in tropical oceans, should yield some 
thousands of megawatt-years of energy," 
Your "iceberg-towing proposal" generated 
considerable interest and newspaper 
coverage. Were you dead serious? 
Isaacs: (laughing): Of course, everything I 
do is in dead seriousness. I have no humor 
or insincerity in my soul at all, 
Omni: But no one is yet towing icebergs up 
from Antarctica, despite their potential for 
supplying great quantifies of fresh water 
and power. Why nol? 

Isaacs: Well, it was only Iwenty-five years 
ago that I first suggested it. I could spend 
my life on a single idea like thai, getting into 
all the complexities and difficulties of it. If 
anyone wants to take that idea and run with 
it, I'm happy. But it really got started the 
wrong way. It was too far out for the "devel- 
oped nations"; so I suspect the Arabs will 
be first to do it, although the "easy" tows 
would be to the arid regions of the Southern 
Hemisphere: Australia, South Africa, or 
Chile, 

Omni: You've been deeply interested in 
aquaculture as another oceanic resource. 
What do you see as the best potential 
"crops" from the sea? 
Isaacs: I've written a few articles on that 
subject. It seems to me that the limiting 
nutrient of the human race is probably pro- 
tein. Calorific foods are plentiful on the 
market, but proteinaceous foods are gen- 
erally much rarer and more expensive. I 
think aquaculture will be an important 
source for such luxury foods, but not for the 
bulk of our diet. 

Admitting very few exceptions, luxury 
marine foods are awfully expensive to 
manage in aquaculture because they are 
all animals and you have io feed them 
something you could have eaten yourself. 
No society in the world ever attempted to 
feed itself on tigers. It takes too many cows: 
it's more sensible to eat the cows. 
Omni: Has our long experience with ter- 
restrial animal husbandry helped with the 
development of aquaculture? 
Isaacs: Yes. but, in general, what man has 
always done in his terrestrial animal hus- 
bandry is to stick to herbivores. That's nol to 
say that domestic animals don't get a little 



mGat; after all. while cattle graze, they get 
an aphid now and then. Chickens eat a few 
insects. But cows and chickens are primar- 
ily herbivores. Now, when you get to the 
ocean, it turns out that our principal foods 
are high-level predators, such as tuna or 
salmon. Bui there are some exceptions. 
These are the filter feeders, creafing the 
miracle of taking very tine particulate mate- 
rial—the phytoplankton and detriius — and 
turning it into organisms big enough to 
make one hungry The filter feeders occupy 
a feeding niche that doesn't exist. on land, 
except perhaps vaguely and tenuously Fil- 
ler feeders just sit there pumping water; the 
ocean brings the food to them, and they 
filter it out. That way they convert very fine 
. microscopic organisms into large-size food 
in one step. So we — the humans — don't 
suffer the losses from all of the inefficien- 
cies of the ordinary marine food web, 

We could raise scallops or mussels— 
both filter feeders. Mussel culture is very 
important in some parts of the world, and 
some of Ihe most productive husbandry in 
the world is mussel culture. But not here in 
the United States, because there are some 
strange regulations concerning their edibil- 
ity. The law says that at certain times of the 
year mussels are poisonous and can be 
used only as fish bait, whether they are 
loxic or not. We don't like to eat fish bait. 

There's another excellent prospect: the 
abalone. It is a strict herbivore, and a luxury 
item. Its use in the United States is a curios- 
ity because we don't eat snails very much. 

But if we are going to harvest the ocean, 
what do we do? The ocean is mainly a 
desert-blue. Blue is the color of 'oceanic 
deserts. Blue water is poor Very little lives 
in it. The really rich pastures are the coastal 
waters, which are brown or green and not 
very transparent, and they are rare. How do 
we overcome this handicap? We choose 
some sort of preferred herbivore, send it 
forth into the sea, let it range for itself, and 
then bring it back for harvest. And, of 
course, we can improve the range by pred- 
ator control and by enriching it also, in 
some of the ways we've already discussed. 
Omni: In effect, sea ranching? 
Isaacs: Yes, one chooses some sort of 
anadromous fish (one that "homes" on riv- 
ers or estuaries] and ranches it Such a 
habit has considerable advantages. One 
of the few equivalents on land is the rein- 
deer; you send it forth, and it comes back 
on a migratory path, on its own. 
Omni: What species would be ideal for sea 
ranching? 

Isaacs: The shad, perhaps, or any fish that 
runs upriver. You simply raise the young in a 
pond and release them; they range out to 
sea, using their own energies, grow, and 
then come back. It's exactly like a round- 
up, except you don't use up a lot of costly 
energy, because the fish cruise, feed, grow, 
and return on their own. 
Omni: Is sea ranching a long-range, future 
possibility, or is it close to reality? 
Isaacs: Well, we are already doing it, to a 
limited extent, with salmon. But salmon are 

132 OMNI 



not primitive feeders. They're high-level 
predators. You could raise a lot more shad 
or candlefish or smelt. 
Omni: What else does that insatiable mind 
of yours wonder about? 
Isaacs: Regrettably, wonder is probably 
the right verb all right! And I hope you are 
equating insatiable with hungry rather than 
with unfiiiable. I am presently working, at 
least on paper, on a number of ideas or 
questions, some so far outside my field that 
I may not be blinded by the traditional sci- 
entific dogma. So I am working on "up- 
side-down" irrigation for waterlogged or 
saline agricultural soils; on halophytes 
[salt-tolerant plants]; on new kinds of 
marine food-web models, on thermophilic 
[heat-loving] bacteria that start the fouling 
of sea water-cooled power plants; measur- 
ing ocean currents by aerial photographs 
of waves; and asking some naive ques- 
tions, such as: Why are there so few 
strongly rotating storms that fall between 
the dimensions of hurricanes and tor- 



HThere are regions in 

the deep North Pacific, far 

from active zones, 

where we could store nuclear 

- wastes far beneath the 

sediments and nothing would 

crack them open 

for ten million years. 5 



nadoes? Or are some chronic diseases 
(coronary disease, cancer, atheroscle- 
rosis) the result of our suppressing natural 
physical conditions, such as exercise, 
fever, and the frequent loss of blood? 

I also wonder about black holes and 
whether the space-time relationships have 
not perhaps been extended further than 
the limits to which they represent the uni- 
verse. Perhaps they are just what they 
seem to be, bodies with sufficient mass 
and gravity to prevent the escape of light, 
and not some strange singularity trans- 
ported into another universe. 

I wonder about inflation and whether the 
sadly fragmented field of economics is not 
overlooking some such dominating simple 
rule as "the more resources are expended 
to no purpose, the more money ap- 
proaches nothing as a value." I wonder 
also how Ecclesiastes, Aeschylus, Sol- 
omon, Lao-tzu, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, 
Dante, Osaka, or Franklin understood so 
much of the physical universe and man, 
and possessed such sharp foresight and 
prescience. And I wonder, in these far more 
enlightened times, at the deep and un- 
brirjged gulf in communication that now 



cleaves our vast fund of knowledge and 
understanding from those who create pol- 
icy and lead events — one of the most tragic 
and frightening syndromes of our times. 
Omni: I suspect that your nagging curios- 
ily has helped you get where you are today. 
Were you as curious in your days as a 
fisherman, when you- started out? 
Isaacs: Well, I wasn't a fisherman first. I 
started out in the merchant marine and 
then went into the forest service. I found a 
lot of things that were interesting. I also 
found that lay people know a lot. They may 
not be able to express themselves, but they 
understand a great deal. But our system 
denigrates lay knowledge. It's part of the 
alienation, isn't it, between the academi- 
cian and the politician? Why this is so 
perplexes me. 

Anyway, I kept going back to school. I 
always got good grades, but I also grew 
bored and restless. So I left school. I fished 
for a few years as a commercial fisherman 
on my own boat. I got to wondering what 
was going on around me. I read a lot. I 
learned a little bit about copepods and 
about phytoplankton. Then I became curi- 
ous about the phenomenology of the 
ocean: currents, water circulation, rotation. 
I kept writing letters to Scripps [Institution 
of Oceanography], and they sent back 
such irrelevant answers I decided they re- 
ally needed help. I applied for a job. It took 
me ten years to get hired, but here I am. 
Omni: In the years since, you must have 
developed a personal philosophy. 
Isaacs: Indeed 1 have. I even wrote some 
of it down once. A useful philosophy should 
be internally inconsistent. Otherwise one 
might start to believe it to be complete. 
Mine qualifies. Here is a relatively consis- 
tent part of it: 

Man constrains his thinking into rigor- 
ously definable compartments. However, 
Ihe oceans, and all of nature, are oblivious 
to the artificial compartments in which man 
pursues knowledge; and its creatures, its 
elements, its forces and energies act and 
interact with such complexity as to consti- 
tute a superb testing ground of man's full 
unconstrained and uncompartmented in- 
tellectual capacity. The ocean presents to 
man the challenge of understanding the 
expression of great natural laws — includ- 
ing those of himself— in a foreign, indeed in 
an extraterrestrial, medium. 

In solving these problems and those of 
employing the oceans to fill man's practic- 
able, aesthetic, recreational, and adven- 
turous needs, we may find that we have 
reincarnated natural philosophers — un- 
compartmented, unfettered, and eclectic 
minds— ranging across, and interrelating, 
the sciences. We may also create new sci- 
ences, cultural proclivities, art, philosophy, 
nature, law, and lay understanding with 
only due (not exclusive) regard for the 
quantifiable, and a dominant and powerful 
regard for the conceptual. Then perhaps 
we can more meaningfully approach the 
microcosm of unquantifiable man and what 
he indubitably is and can be. DO 



QUIETUS 



to varnish 3 corpse, to preserve it. The. 
Egyptians would have nothing on us then, 
he thought. 

"Don't," said a husky voice from the door 
it was MaryJo, her eyes red-rimmed, her 
face looking slept in. 

"Don't what?" Mark asked her. She didn't 
answer, just glanced down at his hands, To 
his surprise, Mark noticed his thumbs were 
under the lip of the coffin lid. as if to lift it, 

"1 wasn't going to open it," he said. 

"Come upstairs," MaryJo said. 

'Are the children asleep?" 

He had asked the question innocently, 
but her face was immediately twisted with 
pain and grief and anger, 

"Children?" she asked. "What is this? 
And why tonight?" 

He leaned against the coffin in surprise. 
The wheeled table moved slightly under 
the weight of his body. 

"We don't have any children." she said. 

And Mark remembered with horror that 
she was right. After the second miscar- 
riage, the doctor had tied her tubes, be- 
cause any further pregnancies would risk 
her life. There were no children, none at ail, 
and it had devastated her for years. It was 
only because of Mark's great patience and 
dependability that she had been able to 
stay out of the hospital. Yet when he came 
'home tonight. . , He tried to remember what 
he had heard when he came home, Surely 
he had heard the children running back 
and forth upstairs. Surely , . . 

"1 haven't been well," he said. 

"If it was a joke, it was sick." 

"It wasn't a joke. It was — " But again he 
couldn't, or at least didn't, tell her about the 
strange memory lapses at the office, even 
though this was even mora proof that some- 
thing was wrong. He had never had any 
children in his home; MaryJo's and his 
orothers and sisters had all been discreetly 
warned not to bring children around his 
poor wife, who was quite distraught to 
oe — the Old Testament word? — barren. 

And all evening he had talked about hav- 
ing children. 

"Honey, I'm sorry," he said, trying to put 
his whole heart into the apology 

"So am I," she answered, and she went 
upstairs. 

Surely she isn't angry at me, Mark 
thought. Surely she realizes something Is 
wrong. Surely she'll forgive me. 

But as he climbed the stairs after her, 
taking off his shirt as he did, he again heard 
:-e voice of a child, 

"1 want a drink, Mommy." The voice was 
plaintive, with the sort of-whine only possi- 
o>e to a child who is comfortable and sure 
: [i ove. Markturned at the landing in time to 
see MaryJo passing the top of the stairs on 
me way to the children's bedroom, a glass 
p water in her hand. He thought nothing of 
[ The children always wanted extra atten- 
tion at bedtime, 



The children. The children. Of course 
there were children, This was the urgency 
he had felt in the office, the reason he had 
to get home. They had always wanted chil- 
dren, and so there were children. Tapworth 
always got what he set his heart on. 

'Asleep at last," MaryJo said wearily 
when she came into the room. 

Despite her weariness, however, she 
Kissed him goodnight in the way that told 
him she wanted to make love. He had never 
worried much about sex. Let the readers of 
Reader's Digest worry about how to make 
their sex lives fuller and richer, he always 
said. As for him, sex was good, but not the 
best thing in his life; just one of the ways 
that he and MaryJo responded to each 
other. Yet tonight he was disturbed, wor- 
ried. Not because he could not perform, for 
he had never been troubled by even tem- 
porary impotence except when he had a 
fever and didn't feel like sex, anyway. What 
bothered him was that he didn't exactly 

He didn't not care, either. He was just 
going through the motions, as he had a 
thousand times before, and this time, sud- 
denly, it all seemed so silly, so redolent of 
petting in the backseat of a car. He felt 
embarrassed that he should get so excited 
over a little stroking. So he was almost re- 
lieved when one of the children cried out. 
Usually he would say to ignore the cry, 
would insist on continuing the lovemaking. 
But this time he pulled away from her, puf on 
a robe, and went into the other room to 
quiet the child down. 

There was no other room. 

Not in this house. He had. in his mind. 
been heading for the room filled with a crib, 
a changing table, a dresser, mobiles, and 
cheerful wallpaper But that room had been 
years ago, when they were full of hope, in 
the small house in Sandy, not in the home in 
Federal Heights, with its magnificent view 
of Salt Lake City, its beautiful shape, and its 
decoration that spoke of taste and shouted 
of wealth and whispered faintly of loneli- 
ness and grief. He leaned against a wall. 
There were no children. There were no chil- 
dren. He could still hear the child's cry ring- 
ing in his mind. 

MaryJo stood in the doorway to their 
bedroom, naked but holding her night- 
gown in front of her. "Mark," she said, "I'm 
afraid." 

"So am I," he answered. 

But she asked him no questions, and he 
put on his pajamas, and they went to bed. 
And as he lay there in darkness, listening to 
his wife's faintly rasping breath, he realized 
that it didn't matter as much as it ought. He 
was losing his mind, but he didn't really 
care. He thought of praying about it, but he 
had given up praying years ago, though of 
course it wouldn't do to let anyone else 
know about his loss of faith, not in a city 
where it's good business to be an active 
Mormon. There'd be no help from God on 
this one; he knew. And not much help from 
MaryJo, either; for instead of being strong, 
as she usually was in an emergency, this 



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time she would be, as she had said, afraid. 

Well, so am I, Mark said to himself. He 
reached over and stroked his wife's 
shadowy cheek, realized that there were 
some creases near the eye, understood 
that what made her afraid was not his spe- 
cific ailment, odd as it was, but the fact that 
it was a hint of aging, of senility, of imminent 
separation. He remembered the box 
downstairs, like death appointed to watch 
for him until at last he consented to go. He 
briefly resented them for bringing death to 
his home, for so indecently imposing on 
them- Then he ceased to care at all — about 
the box, about his strange lapses in mem- 
ory, about everything. 

.1 am at peace, he thought as he drifted 
off to sleep. / am at peace, and it's not all 
that pleasant. 

"Mark," said MaryJo, shaking him 
awake. "Mark, you overslept." 

Mark opened his eyes, mumbled some- 
thing so the shaking would stop, then rolled 
over to go back to sleep. 

"Mark." MaryJo insisted. 

"I'm tired," he said in protest. 

"I know you are," she said. "So I didn't 
wake you any sooner. But they just called. 
There's- something of an emergency or 
something—" 

"They can't flush the toilet without some- 
one holding their hands." 

"I wish you wouldn't be crude, Mark," 
MaryJo said. "I sent the children off to 
school without letting them wake you by 
kissing you good-bye. They were very up- 
set." 

"Good children." 

"Mark, they're expecting you at the of- 
fice." 

Mark closed his eyes and spoke in mea- 
sured tones. "You can call them and tell 
them I'll come in when I damn well feel like 
it, and if they can't cope with the problem 
themselves, I'll fire them all." 

MaryJo was silent for a moment. "Mark, I 
can't say that." 

"Word for word. I'm tired. I need a rest. My 
mind is doing funny things to me. "And with 
that Mark remembered all the illusions of 
the day before, including the illusion of hav- 
ing children. 

"There aren't any children," he said. 

Her eyes grew wide. "What do you 
mean?" 

He almost shouted at her, demanded to 
know what was going on, why she didn't 
just tell him the truth for a moment. But the 
lethargy and disinterest clamped down, 
and he said nothing, just rolled -back over 
and looked at the curtains as they drifted in 
and out with the air conditioning. Soon 
MaryJo left him, and he heard the sound of 
machinery starting up downstairs. The 
washer, the dryer, the vacuum cleaner, the 
dishwasher, the garbage-disposal unit. It 
seemed that all-trie machines were going at 
once. He had never heard the sounds be- 
fore. MaryJo never ran them in the evenings 
or on weekends, when he was home. 

At noon he finally got up, but he didn't 

12H OMNI 



feel like showering and shaving, though 
any other day he would have felt dirty and 
uncomfortable until those rituals were done 
with. He just put on his robe and went 
downstairs. He planned to go in to break- 
fast, but instead he went into his study and 
opened the lid of the coffin. 

It took a bit of preparation, of course. 
There was some pacing back and_ forth 
before the coffin, and much stroking of the 
wood, but finally he put his thumbs under 
the lid and lifted. 

The corpse looked stiff and awkward. A 
man, not particularly old, not particularly 
young. Hair of a determinedly average 
color. Except for the grayness of the skin 
color, the body looked completely natural 
and so utterly nondescript that Mark felt 
sure he might have seen the man a million 
times without remembering he had seen 
him at all. Yet he was unmistakably dead, 
not because of the cheap satin lining the 
coffin rather slackly, but because of the 
hunch of the shoulders, the jut of the chin. 



% And so he sat and 

stared at the coffin for two 

hours and had 

no dinner and did not 

. . . notice when 

MaryJo came downstairs . . . 

and iay down 

onthe sofa . . . and wept$ 



The man was not comfortable. 

He smelled of embalming fluid. 

.Mark was holding the lid open with one 
hand, leaning on the coffin with the other. 
He was trembling. Yet he fell no excitement, 
no fear. The trembling was coming from his 
body, not from anything he could find within 
his thoughts. He was trembling because he 
was cold. 

There was a soft sound or absence of 
sound at the door. He turned around 
abruptly. The lid dropped behind him. 
MaryJo was standing in the doorway, wear- 
ing a frilly housedress, her eyes wide with 
horror. 

In that moment years fell away and to 
Mark she was twenty, a shy and somewhat 
awkward girl who was forever being sur- 
prised by the way the world actually 
worked. He waited for her to say, "But, 
Mark, you cheated him." She had said it 
only once, but ever since then he had heard 
the words in his mind whenever he was 
closing a deal. It was the closest thing to a 
conscience he had in his business deal- 
ings. It was enough to win him a reputation 
as a very honest man. 

"Mark," she said softly, as if struggling to 



keep control of herself, "Mark, I couldn't go 

on without you." 

She sounded as if she was afraid some- 
thing terrible was going to happen to him, 
and her hands were shaking. He took a 
step toward her. She lifted her hands, came 
to him, clung to hinvand cried in a high 
whimper into his shoulder. "I couldn't. I just 
couldn't." 

"You don't have to," he said, puzzled. 

"I'm just not the kind of perspn," she said 
between sobs, "who can live alone." 

"But even if I — even if something hap- 
pened to me, MaryJo, you'd have the — " 
He was going to say "children." Something 
was wrong with that, though, wasn't there? 
They loved no one better in the world than 
their children; no parents had ever been 
happier than they had been when their two 
were born, Yet he couldn't say it. 

"I'd have what?" MaryJo asked. "Oh, 
Mark, I'd have nothing." 

And then Mark remembered again 
[What's happening to me?) that they were 
childless, that to MaryJo, who was old- 
fashioned enough to regard motherhood 
as the main purpose for her existence, the 
fact that they had no hope of children was 
God's condemnation of her. The only thing 
that had pulled her through after the opera- 
tion was Mark, was fussing over his mean- 
ingless and sometimes invented problems 
at the office or telling him endlessly the 
events of her lonely days. It was as if he 
were her anchor to reality, and only he kept 
her from going adrift in the eddies of her 
own fears. No wonder the poor girl (for at 
such times Mark could not think of her as 
completely adult) was distraught as she 
thought of Mark's death, and the damned 
coffin in the house did no good at all, 

But I'm in no position to cope with this, 
Mark thought. I'm falling apart. I'm not only 
forgetting things, I'm remembering things 
that didn't happen. And what if I died? What 
if I suddenly had a stroke like my father had 
and died on the way to the hospital? What 
would happen to MaryJo? 

She'd never lack for money. Between the 
business and the insurance, even the 
house would be paid off, with enough 
money left over for her to live like a queen on 
the interest. But would the insurance com- 
pany arrange for someone to hold her pa- 
tiently while she cried out her fears? Would 
they provide someone for her to waken in 
the middle of the night, when nameless 
terrors haunted her? 

Her sobs turned into frantic hiccups and 
her fingers dug more deeply into his back 
through the soft fabric of his robe. See how 
she clings to me, he thought. She'll never 
let me go. And then the blackness came 
again, and again he was falling backward 
into nothing, and again he did not care 
about anything. Did not even know there 
was anything to care about. 

Except for the fingers pressing into his 
back and the weight he held in his arms. / 
do not mind losing the world, he thought. / 
do nor mind losing even my memories of 
the past. But these fingers. This woman. I 



cannot lay this burden down, because 
there is no one who can pick it up again. It I 
release her, she is tost. 

Yet he longed for the darkness, resenled 
her need that held- him. Surely there is a 
way out of this, he thought. Surely a bal- 
ance between two hungers that leaves both 
satisfied. But still the hands held him. All 
the world was silent, and the silence was 
peace except for the sharp, insistent fin- 
gers, and he cried' out in frustration. And 
the sound was still ringing in Ihe room when 
he opened his eyes and saw MaryJo stand- 
ing against a wall, leaning against the wall, 
looking at him in terror. 

"What's wrong?" she whispered. 

"I'm losing," he answered. But he could 
■ not remember what he had thought to win. 

And at that moment a door slammed in 
the house and Amy came running with little 
loud feet through the kitchen and into the 
study, flinging herself on her mother and 
bellowing about the day at school and the 
dog that chased her for .the second time 
and how the teacher told her she was the 
besf reader in the second grade but Darrel 
had spilled milk on her and could she have 
a sandwich because she had drepped 
hers and stepped on it accidentally at 
lunch — 

MaryJo looked at Mark cheerfully and 
winked and laughed. "Sounds like Amy's 
had a busy day, doesn't it, Mark?" 
' Mark could not smile. He just nodded as 
MaryJo straightened Amy's disheveled 



clothing and led her toward the kitchen. 

"MaryJo," Mark said. "There's something 
I have to talk to you about." 

"Can it wait?" MaryJo asked, not even 
pausing. Mark heard the cupboard door 
opening, heard the lid come off the 
peanut-butter jar, heard Amy giggle and 
say, "Mommy, not so thick." 

Mark didn't understand why he was so 
confused and terrified. Amy had a sand- 
wich after school ever since she had 
started going— even as an infant she had 
had seven meals a day and never gained 
an ounce. It wasn't what was happening in 
the kitchen that was bothering him, it 
couldn't be. Yet he could not stop himself 
from crying out, "MaryJo! MaryJo, come 
here!" 

"Is Daddy mad?" he heard Amy ask 
softly. 

"No," MaryJo answered, and she bus- 
tled back into the room and impatiently 
said, "What's wrong, dear?" 

"I just need — just need to have you in 
here for a minute." 

"Really, Mark, that's not your style, is it? 
Amy needs to have a lot of attention right 
after school. It's the way she is. I wish you 
wouldn't stay home from work with nothing 
to do, Mark. You become quite impossible 
around the house." She smiled to show that 
she was only half-serious and left again to 
go back to Amy. 

For a moment Mark felt a terrible stab of 
jealousy that MaryJo was far more sensitive 




to Amy's needs than to his. 

But that jealousy passed quickly like the 
memory of the pain of MaryJo's fingers 
pressing into his back, and with a tremen- 
dous feeling of relief Mark didn't care about 
anything at all, and he turned around to the 
coffin, which fascinated him, and he 
opened the lid again and looked inside. It 
was as if the poor man had no face at all, 
Mark realized. As if death stole faces from 
people and made them anonymous even to 
themselves. 

He ran his fingers back and forth across 
the satin, and it felt cool and inviting. The 
rest of the room, the rest of the world , faded. 
Only Mark and the coffin and the corpse 
remained, and Mark felt very tired and very 
hot, as if life itself were a terrible friction 
making heat within him, and he took off his 
robe and pajamas and awkwardly climbed 
on a chair and stepped over the edge into 
the coffin and kneltand then lay down in the 
coffin. There was no corpse to share the 
slight space with him, nothing between his 
body and the cold satin, and as he lay on it, 
it didn't get any warmer because at last the 
friction was slowing, was cooling, and he 
reached up and pulled down the lid. The 
world was dark and silent, and there was no 
odor and no taste and no feel but the cold of 
the sheets. 

"Why is the lid closed?" asked little Amy, 
holding her mother's hand. 

"Because it's not the body we must re- 
member," MaryJo said softly, with careful 
control, "but the way Daddy always was. , 
We must remember him happy and laugh- 
ing and loving us." 

Amy looked puzzled. "But I remember he 
spanked me." 

MaryJo nodded, smiling, something she 
had not done recently "It's all right to re- 
member that, too," MaryJo said, and then 
she took her daughter from the coffin back 
into the living room, where Amy, not realiz- 
ing yet the terrible loss she had sustained. 
laughed and climbed on Grandpa, 

David, his face serious and tear-stained 
because he did understand, came and put 
his hand in his mother's hand and held 
tightly to her. "We'll be fine," he said. 

"Yes," MaryJo answered, "I think so." 

And MaryJo's mother whispered in her 
ear, "I don't know how you can stand it so 
bravely, my dear." 

Tears came to' MaryJo's eyes. "I'm not 
brave at all," she whispered back. "But the 
children. They depend on me so much. I 
can't let go when they're leaning on me." 

"How terrible it would be," her mother 
said, nodding wisely, "if you had no chil- 
■ dren." 

Inside the coffin, his last need fulfilled, 
Mark Tapworth heard it all but could not 
hold it in his mind, for in his mind there was 
space and time for only one thought: con- 
sent. Everlasting consent to his life, to his 
death, to the world, and to the everlasting 
absence of the world. For now at last there 
were children. OO 



destroy [he "economy of scale" arguments 
of the meg a- industrialists by showing that 
small was cheaper and more efficient than 
big — that it just requires more of your sweat 
and brains. 

Hess found he could supply much of the 
neighborhood with protein by raising rain- 
bow trout in plywood tanks in apartment 
basements (for about a dollar a pound in 
costs), Using empty rooftops, he also 
raised bumper crops of hydroponically 
grown tomatoes. The "community technol- 
ogy" involved here was learning that a few 
cups of vacant-lot soil in the trout tanks 
produced bacteria that removed destruc- 
tive ammonia from trout waste; that dis- 
carded washing machines provided fine 
water-recirculation systems; and that the 
calcite chips available in any garden store 
were perfect for filters. 

"Atypical basement in the neighborhood 
could produce about three Ions annually 
(emphasis mine] at costs substantially 
below grocery store prices," Hess wrote in 
Community Technology. 

Who, then, needs Supermarkets or a De- 
partment of Agriculture? 

His group also built solar collectors out of 
cat-food cans, which, mounted on roof- 
tops, were capable of heating household 
air to. about 49°C. Another group devel- 
oped a self-contained bacterial toilet, 
which suggested that any neighborhood 
could unhook from the city sewerage sys- 
tem and avoid its inefficiency and pollution. 
Plans were begun for an electrically driven 
plalform to handle heavy neighborhood 
moving tasks; a peanut-sized chemical 
factory to make household cleaners, disin- 
fectants, and — get this— aspirin; and a 
methanol plant to convert garbage into a 
gasolinelike fuel, 

Hess's accomplishments were cheered 
with "Right onl"s al Adams-Morgan's 
town-hall-like assembly But no one moved 
to copy them or push the neighborhood 
toward even more imaginative forms of in- 
dependence. Welfare dollars were easier 
and more familiar, Hess concluded bitterly 
{noting also that, when Chicago's Rev. 
Jesse Jackson went to Washington to urge 
Hess-like self-reliance among blacks, "he 
.was almost chased out m town"). 

So Hess left Adams-Morgan and built a 
beautiful solar house in the side of a hill, 
mostly with bartered materials and ser- 
vices, at a total cost of S1 1 ,000. He is help- 
ing to convert the Charlestown, West Vir- 
ginia, 'area into one of his independent 
dream communities through such novel 
schemes as convincing the. local voca- 
tional school to design area-appropriate 
systems to bring freedom from sewerage 
districts, utility companies, supermarkets. 
giant transportation and equipment firms, 
etc. Hess remains the prototypical Little 
Brother by not paying the IRS and by living 
almost entirely by bartering his skills. 



"Liberty is knowfjoge-mtensive," he told 
me. "You can't get away from the bastards if 
you merely insist on 'rights' from above and 
don't use your head and the technology 
lying all around you to ensure your own 
rights and survival.- 

"If I were elected president, I'd close all 
the schools so kids could learn something," 
he said as I was leaving, "I'd end the licens- 
ing of all professionals, from doctors to 
cosmeticians, so people would learn how 
to solve their own problems. I would require 
that every American child, at birth, be given 
a kit composed ot a three-quarter-inch 
drill, a complete set of screwdrivers and 
wrenches, the Reader's Diges! Complete 
DO-lt-Yourself Manual, and a thirty-eight 
special with ammo. Naturally, I would 
legalize firearms for everyone except the 
police." 

Okay, all this is funny and colorful and 
clever and highly inventive, but I don't see 
the Pentagon/Exxon Axis and their Big 
Brother allies doing anything but suppress- 



4 / would require that 
every American be given a kit 

composed of a three- 
quarter-inch drill, a complete 
' set of screwdrivers and 
wrenches, a Reader's Digest 

Do-It- Yourself Manual, 
and a thirty -eight special. 9 



ing the potential tide of community Utopias 
patterned on Hess's proposals Nor do I 
see scientists surrendering federal grants 
or leaving International Physics in droves in 
order to build particle accelerators out of 
cattle guards in Roswell, New Mexico. Un- 
less: 

•A savvy national political figure moves 
quickly to weld the little brothers into a 
cohesive t980 vote. The world might not yet 
be ready for the radical and revolutionary 
Hessian Way to Independence (but by 
1.984 it might be among the best ways to 
avoid centralized Orwellian institutions of 
conlrol), although a continued public en- 
dorsement of something like Mark Hat- 
field's "Neighborhood Corporation" bill 
might give an imaginative presidential 
hopeful a solid voting bloc. Although his 
"liberal Republican" record is one of the 
most thoughtful the Senate has produced 
in years, Hatfield notes that "the Republi- 
can party wouldn't nominate me for 
sergeant-at-arms — the Helms-Reagan 
people seem to want to chase all the real 
Republicans out." Other measures he ad- 
vocates will make Hatfield a principal 
statesman of the little brothers. He is co- 



sponsor of the "National Initiative" bill, 
which could makethe national referendum 
a major and lobby-crushing influence in 
Washington. Also, he has.proposed an ex- 
tremely simple income-tax form, with no 
loopholes. Hatfield is just too sane to be 
taken seriously now 

•This same savvy candidate must realize 
that this is not just another hnky-dink, 
single-issue : , anti-abortionlike group, these 
little brothers. They represent a complete 
philosophy of genteel rebellion— get me 
out of the data banks, my social security 
number is none of your business, I'll take 
care of myseff until you find a way to make 
government and corporations and all the 
other monsters efficient and nonpredatory. 
The many arguments against an America 
of technologically and governmentally in- 
dependent neighborhoods— Balkaniza- 
tion, destruction of American influence 
abroad, it's back to the caves— should be 
thoroughly considered by Ihe little-brother 
candidate and be aired publicly. Big 
Brother will be calling him a crank and a 
crackpot; so he'd better keep his argu- 
ments clear, solid— and dramatically ap- 
pealing, 

•If our little- brother main man is really 
clever, he'll seize upon that demon, that 
arch-handmaiden of Big Brother, thai digi- 
tal enemy of humanity, the cheap computer 
as ihe little brothers' best triend. Why 
should the agencies and the multinationals 
have the monopoly on bugging? With the 
home-computer terminal, and the appall- 
ingly cheap (and dropping) cost of micro- 
processors and related technologies, why 
shouldn't the little brothers fight for access 
lo all those data banks— including Presi- 
dent Carter's unclassified ones? (Official 
Circles will explore this further in -a future 
column.) 

•Balkanization? If America becomes a 
federation of f 00,000 or so neighborhoods, 
the cheap computer gives each of them 
access to Ihe information, problem-solving 
techniques, and heipfu! statistics of all the 
others. It could be a much more unify- 
ing instrument— of the American culture, 
please understand, not just the Potomac 
nation-state — than anything ever to hit 
political science. 

• A proper little-brother leader would prob- 
ably want to redirect much of government 
loward increasing the skills, general sur- 
vivability, and independence of individuals 
and neighborhoods. Why shouldn't con- 
struction men, service workers, gardeners, 
and other holders of useful skills also be 
teachers for their fellow neighborhooders? 
Ask the average congressman whether 
he thinks there is any science or technology 
issue sexy enough to influence the 1980 
campaign, and he'll probably say that, be- 
sides Three Mile Island and nuclear pow- 
er's future, the folks just aren't interested. 
Look closer. It's possible thai technology 
and Mother Science will become the only 
political issues — even inflation can be 
blamed on misuse or mispricing of tech- 
nology—of Ihe future. DO 

127 



CDrmnnunjiCMTiorus 



OOM-|NUH";FFOM PAl.v f. 



our simian ancestor;, lose Ihe ability to syn- 
thesize vitamin C, it seems to me that this 
special kind of Natural Selection deserves 
a special name just as a special kind of 
mammal deserves to be called a whale. 
The mechanisms for acquiring abilities and 
for losing them deserve to be contrasted as 
well as compared. 

I. J. Good 
Blacksburg, Va. 

Intelligence Drugs 

I just want to thank you for the article by 
Sandy Shakocius and Durk Pearson, "Mind 
Food" [May 1979]. I have taken a daily dose 
oi 126 grains of lecithin and 300 mgs of 
vitamin B-12 since reading the report. 
Within 24 hours of the first dosage there 
was a dramatic physical improvement. I 
didn't realize the impact, however, until fi- 
nal-exam week. (I'm a college student.) 

Memorizing bulky lists of material has 
always been painful and rarely satisfactory. 
Due to the time limitations in preparing for 
my final exams, I made no aftempt to 
memorize; I merely gave the material a 
good reading a number of times. Surpris- 
ingly, I found that I had at least 90-perceni 
recall at exam time. Your article came just in 
time for me to salvage some poor grades. 
E. Montgomery Brunson 
Abilene. Tex. 

"Mind Food" blows my mind. First of all, the 
FDA is probably responsible for preventing 
thalidomide-equivalent tragedies. 

Next, determining drug dosage by per- 
centage of daily dry-food intake could kill 
someone if the LD50/ED50 is low. 

Third, the human consumption of any in- 
dustrial chemical hardly seems in the best 
public interest. 

Last ot all, a person who wanls to be- 
come more intelligent (or whatever), ac- 
cording to you, gets to choose from such 
side effects as weight gain, stomach upset. 
nausea, headaches, gout, hypertension, 
angina, or smelling like a fish! 

I hope the real researchers continue with 

their work, but until I have unquestionable 

prescriptions. I'll pass on Ihe mind food. 

Kathy Fest 

Flagstaff, Ariz. 

I am a medical student, and the article 
"Mind Food" hit right home, It's really a pity 
that the FDA isn't allowing some of these 
drugs to be licensed in the United States. 
The "safer" ones could be in Ihe form of one 
or two convenient tablets, to be taken in the 
morning. One of my colleagues has per- 
suaded me to drink 16 ounces of a fruity 
juice 10-15 minutes before taking an exam 
because the available sugar will help the 
brain function-This doesn't improve long- 
term memory, but it aids recall, I have 
found. 

David Glorius 
Silver Springs. Fla. 



If ever I've seen an invitation to drug abuse, 
your article on so-called mind food must be 
it- 
It has been my understanding that the 
human mind/body is a "closed and bal- 
anced chemical system,'' which has 
evolved over millions of years lo become 
the fantastically complex .and marvelously 
functioning creation that it is— without one 
shred of assistance from human "Intelli- 
gence." 

Now it's one thing to put certain chemi- 
cals into an unbalanced (sick) human sys- 
tem in the hope of restoring health, but your 
article invites us to alter the balanced 
chemistry of our own "well" bodies, and to 
believe that the only "side effects" are those 
that the authors happen to have noticed so 
far. 

Surely these marvelous mind/bodies of 
ours are still more complex than the au- 
thors' [Shakocius and Pearson! under- 
standing of them. Perhaps, for those who 
willingly alter their own healthy chemistry 
with "mind food," the promise of decreased 
dumbness makes it worth the risk. 

Carl Baumann 
Oswego. N.Y 

On Target 

Referring to First Word in your May issue, I 
am a member of Robert W Bussard's AIAA 
long-range planning group and am inti- 
mately familiar with all the issues you ad- 
dressed. You hit the right issues right on 
target. Congratulations! You covered a dif- 
ficult subject exceptionally well. 

I regret that it caused you to show up at 
Isaac Asimov's reception a little tired, but it 
was obviously worth Ihe effort. 

Bill Sauber 
Midland, Mich. 

Won't Be Conned 

There was a certain comment made by 
Arthur C. Clarke in your March issue that 
made me very glad I'd bought your maga- 
zine. It was: "What annoys me are the Von 
Danikens and the ancient-astronaut peo- 
ple." The eminent author's observation is 
appropriate. 

I, too, am a very anti-Von Daniken per- 
son. After reading several of his books (one 
of which he wrote in jail — for fraud 
perhaps?) and deciding that I didn't like 
them, to say the least, I was again con- 
fronted with one of Von Daniken's theories: 
"Anyone who doesn't believe in my theories 
is narrow-minded." 

What a conl I dothink that extraterrestri- 
als perhaps did once visit our planet in the 
distant past, but not in the way that Von 
Daniken and his paid associate J. F Blum- 
rich describe. 

It's up to Omni now to try to show the 
misled public what the truth about his 
theories .really is. 

John Tran 
Hertfordshire, England 

Cold on Colite 

Your Continuum piece on Charles Cohn's 



invention Colite in your May issue politely 
ignores the largest reason why cigarette 
companies won't buy it: Colite would signif- 
icantly reduce the number of cigarettes 
sold. State taxation departments wouldn't 
be thrilled with it, either. 

A simple question ^remains: Why doesn't 
Cohn market it himself? Surely there must 
be some bright young person out there 
eager to make money who would assist 
Cohn in makihg this valuable product 
available to the public. 

Linda C. LaVictoire 
Rutland, Vt. 

Seeing Is Believing 

Month after month I read James Oberg's 
column on the UFO world [UFO Update! 
Each time he practically states flat out that 
all UFO reports are faked . It's quite obvious 
that he doesn't even consider them a pos- 
sibility- 
There was a letter in your May Communi- 
cations column sent in by David A. Schroth, 
who says that people are being suckered 
by UFO "researchers'" and the cases 
themselves. Wth all due respect to both of 
these gentlemen, I beg to differ. 

There are five groups of UFO believers: 
1) Those who will not believe in UFOs, even 
if they were lo see one; 2) those who don't 
believe until they see one; 3) those who 
don't believe until they see one, then find 
out that their particular case was false, and 
from then on maintain. "If one is false, all 
are "; 4) those who believe, no matter what; 
and 5) the group I belong to. We believe in ■■ 
UFOs without physical proof and without 
sightings. We do not need proof or sight- 
ings to make us believe we are right. Time 
will do thai for us. 

Janice Tonielto 
Cicero, III. 

Frozen Omni 

I find it striking to link man's past so easily 
with his future by merely looking out on the 
still-frozen tundra to the earliest caribou 
migrations and then down to my lap to the 
latest issue of Omni. 

Regina Hennya 
Montreal, P.Q., Canada DO 



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:,!::! :i., ir i;-, vfn.fc.-j.-;! J. i r:i v ■ :■- ■ piigs 12 


. NASA, page 


132 L)3-,fi.i-i - .Wooa-i--. !-■;. :. '. -,: 


ales 



HOW WRONG WE WERE! 



T 



By Patrick Moore 






Some years ago— I think It was in 
1964 — I gave a public lecture 
about the planet Mars. Several 
hundred people attended, and I 
summarized for them what we knew and 
suspected aboui the Red Planet, I made a 
series of y'i staiornants, every statement 
Packed up by the best available scientific 
evidence — and every one was wrong! 
The lecture, I repeat, was given less 
than two decades ago. Yet ii preceded, the 
first successful Mars probe, Mariner 4, 
which made its fly-by later and sent 
back information that turned all our 
preconceivec ioeaa upa'de down. Before 
Mariner 4, we thcugnl Mars had a flattish 
surface, at most undulating slightly: that its 
atmosphere was compossc chiefly of 
nitrogen, with aground pressure of at least 
80 millibars-; thai its dark areas were 
covered by lowly vegeta'.on, and thai :he 
white polar caps were layers of frosty 
material about a centimeter in depth, 
Though no one had much faith in the 
age-old idea. of intelligent Martians, it was 
still believed that the celebrated "canals" 
had a basis in reality. 

The probes, beginning wish Mariner 4, 
have shown otherwise, The Martian 
atmosphere is mainly carbon dioxide, with 
a ground pressure below ten millibars, The 
dark regions are not due to living 
organisms; they are merely "albedo 
"oai'jros ' c ifer.ng from Lhe:r surroundings 
only in their darker hue. The residual polar 
caps are of ordinary ice and are extremely 
thick, There is also soma solid carbon 
dioxide, which persists for part oi the 
Martian year (687 of our days). There are 
no canals. The spiders-web network 
Peloved of the older observers was purely 
imaginary. Finally, Mars is a world of 
craters, mountains, valleys, dry riverbeds, 
and towering volcanoes. 

We were wrong even about the color of 
the sky. Most people expected it to be dark 
blue. In fact, it is salmrjn-pink. 

Why were we so wrong? Because, of 
course, we had been observing Mars 
across a disiance of at least 54.7 million 
kilometers, and our knowledge was bound 
to be incomplete at best. 

We made enormous errors even in the 



case of our nearby moon. During the 
1950s a strange theory, supported by 
some eminent astronomers, notably 
Cornell's Dr. Thomas Gold, held that the 
"seas" were deep dust-drifts and that any 
spacecraft that would land on them would 
at once sink deep into them. Mind you, 
most practical observers could see flaws 
inthis theory, and I had no faith in it myself. 
But it was taken very senously in the 
United States and was not finally 
disproved until the Soviet automatic probe 
Luna 9 made a controlled landing and 
failed to sink out of view. 

What, than, about Venus? Here we were 
even more gravely at fault. D, H. Menzei. 
F L Whipple, and many followers believed 
the planet's surface was covered mainly 
by water, surrounded by clouds of water 
vapor. It was known that the atmosphere 
was rich in carbon dioxide, so the water 
would presumably have been fouled by 
dissolved gas. If the marine theory had 
been correct, there would have been 
ample soda water on Venus, though the 
chances of finding any whisky to mix with 
it seemed regrettably slight. 




24-ki!ameier-high Ciympus Mens whs 
Voyager 1 's rmsi dimmaiic. discovery on rsa's. 



In 1962 we discovered that the Venusian 
surface temperature is not far short of 
550" C. Water cannot remain in the liquid 
state at such a temperature, and the 
clouds contain sulfuric acid. Venus is by 
no means the friendly, welcoming world 
that some people expected. 

Of the more remote planets, Jupiter has 
provided plenty of surprises. Even after 
World War I astronomers still bel even 
Jupiter to be a kind of miniature sun. This 
idea was not disproved until the theoretical 
work of Sir Harold Jeffreys in the 1920s. In 
reality, Jupiter is composed chiefly of 
liquid hydrogen, with a gaseous surface, 
The Red Spot is not a solid floating 
"island," as was popularly believed until a 
decade or so ago. 

lo. the innermost ol the large Jovian 
satellites, has given us some real shocks, 
On if we have detected the first active 
volcanoes ever seen hey or Lai :n. Few 
astronomers would have expected 
anything of the kind. Once again 
automated probes, in this case the 
Voyagers, have upset all our theories. 

Stellar astronomy has undergone 
equally startling revisions. Red giant stars, 
such as Antares, were once. believed to be 
yoLj'hfu . They have turned out to be well 
advanced in their life histories. As recently 
as 1920 Dr. Harlow Shapley, one of the 
greatest astronomers of all time and the 
man who first accurately estimated the 
size of our Mi «.y Way system -was a - ., 
stoutly defending hisopinion that the 
objects then known asspiral nebulas were 
parts of our own galaxy rather than 
independent galaxies in their own right' 

Thepointtobemade here is that all 
these mistakes — and many more like 
them! — ware made on [he basis of the 
best available sc;en:if;c evidence. By Tie 
year 2000 we may find that many of 
locay's ideas are equally wide of the mark. 

Of course, there have also been many 
■neones oased on scientific ignorance. 
These fall into a completely different cate- 
gory, and I propose to say more about them 
shortly. Meanwhile, it is just as well to re- 
member that our knowledge is still far from 
complete. We must be prepared for a full 
quota of surprises in the years .ahead. DO 



DESERTJEWEL 

EXPLDRPmDTU5 



By' Michael Cassutt 



mm ^^ any of us siill think of Arizona 
; !■] '] 1 as the lasl frontier, ihe home of 
| U I gunfighters, ghost towns, and 
settler forts, but it's time to let that 
outdated image bite the dust. Today's 
Arizonans have their eyes on the high 
frontiers of astronomy, biology, geology, 
and archaeology. The state is home to 
both the L-5 Society and the Aerial 
Phenomena Research Organization 
(APRO), as well as to numerous museums, 
Indian ruins, zoological and botanical 
gardens, laboratories, and observatories. 
Arizona also offers a staggering variety of 
landscapes, from the rugged mountains, 
buttes, canyons, and petrified forests of 
the Kaibab Plateau, to the cotton fields 
and cacti of the Sonoran Desert. 

Parts of the stale have a unique 
starkness that brings to mind sirange and 
alien worlds. In the late 1960s and early 
1970s the Apollo astronauts were frequent 
visitors to the U.S. Geological Survey's 
Center for Astrogeology. at Flagstaff, 
where the surrounding area resembles the 
lunar landscape. As a prelude to their 
stroll on the moon, the astronauts studied 



and took long excursions across the rocky 
terrain. One moon-walker, Dr. Harrison 
Schmitt, now a U.S. senator from 
neighboring New Mexico, once worked 
full-time at the center. There are no tours 
as such, but the center's exhibits are open 
to the public. See their presentation on 
geologic mapping of the moon or the one 
on crater formation. 

Visitors to the Center for Astrogeology 
don't have to travel far to find an actual 
crater. About 60 kilometers east of 
Flagstaff is the famed Barringer Meteor 
Crater, where, 50,000 years ago, the 
impact of a meteorite ripped a hole in the 
earth almost 2 kilometers across and 180 
meters deep. (For more on the Barringer 
Crater, see Explorations in our June issue.) 

By far the most spectacular landmark in 
Arizona is the Grand Canyon, which cuts 
350 kilometers across the Kaibab Plateau 
in the northern third of the state. The 
canyon was carved by the rushing waters 
of the Colorado River. Geologists estimate 
that this process began over a billion 
years ago, before life existed on the young 
planet Earth, Thus the colorful walls of the 




Paolo Soleri's city of the future, Arcosanti, will be solar-powered and have no automobiles. 

130 OMNI 



canyon bear the scars of countless 
ancient upheavals and hold numerous 
fossils. It's a magnificent guide to our 
planet's history. 

The floor of the Grand Canyon is, in 
places, as much as 2 kilometers below its 
rims. It's a long way down on foot or 
horseback, especially since that distance 
seems greatly enhanced by the number 
and the size of branch canyons and cliffs. 
Descending toward a tiny Colorado 
River on ancient switchback trails is an 
unforgettable experience. 

Visitors to the canyon can choose 
between the relatively limited accommo- 
dations of the North Rim and those of the 
South Rim, which are more extensive and 
have the added advantage of being open ' 
all year round. Be sure to plan ahead, 
because the only way from one rim to the 
other is the long way around. 

The underworld of Arizona is just as rich 
and varied as it appears from the towering 
cliffs of the Grand Canyon. At Arizona 
Mineral Museum, in Phoenix, you will see 
displays of such items as a fossilized 
mammoth's tooth, a meteorite, and quartz 
crystals, in addition to samples of all the 
many ores and minerals found throughout 
the state. There are also working models 
that demonstrate techniques that have 
been used over the years to extract these 
minerals. Arizona's economy depends in 
large part on the mining industry. You'll 
see why 

Any journey to the center of the earth 
should rightly begin at Colossal Cave, 
situated in the southern part of the state, 
near Tucson. Although you won't travel 
quite as far as those celebrated explorers 
James Mason and Pat Boone, Colossal 
Cave is the largest known dry cavern in the 
world. Its true extent remains a mystery to 
this day. In its past, the cave has served as 
a refuge for Indians and a hideout for 
outlaws. More recently it has attracted the 
attention of people looking for lost trea- 
sure — an activity that is not encouraged, 
You will enjoy exploring the cave's two- 
kilometer-long trail, and you can walk in 
relative comfort since the temperature is a 
constant 22°C (72°F). No special boots or 
clothes are necessary. 



It's possible that plants and animals 
native to Arizona are as alien lo most of us 
as Martian ferns might be. They have a 
right to their strangeness. Desert lite has 
to be tough enough to survive killing heat 
and drought, flash floods, and freezing 
temperatures. Members of this hardy crew. 
from cacti to coyotes, put on their best 
show al the Arizona-Sonora Desert 
Museum, a modem zoological garden that 
sprawls in the desert west of Tucson, The 
terrain should be instantly famillarto 
anyone who's ever seen a Western movie. 
The Desert Museum is the backdrop to 
Old Tucson, the renowned movie location. 

Amid this phalanx of multilimbed 
saguaro cacti you'll find more than 350 
examples of desert plants and animals, all 
in their native habitats. You can stand face 
to face with a kit fox or a mountain lion or 
watch the mad dash of a roadrunner, a 
member of the cuckoo family. And you are 
certain to learn the difference between a 
cholla and a prickly pear. There are even 
glass-walled aquatic exhibits displaying 
some familiar, and some not-so-familiar, 
fish and reptiles. The entire complex is 
designed to permit access for explorers in 
wheelchairs or strollers. 

The Phoenix area boasts an equally 
impressive showcase of natural life. At the 
Desert Botanical Garden some 50 
varieties of plants are on display in a 
walk-through garden, which has the 
added attraction of such rare desert birds 
as the turkey vulture and the sparrow 
hawk. Uptown, the Tropic Garden Zoo 
emphasizes small animals of warm.. 
climates, including Arizona, but not 
exclusively. That explains the wallabies 
and mini-goats, not to mention the 
enthusiastic family of monkeys that roam 
free on the shaded walks. Explorers with 
children might find the Tropic Garden Zoo 
especially attractive. 

To the east of Phoenix, near the town of 
Superior, you can see botanical research 
in progress at the Boyce Thompson 
Southwestern Arboretum. Managed jointly 
by the Arizona Parks Board and the 
University of Arizona, the arboretum was 
the first institution in the Rocky Mountain 
area to be devoted to plant study when it 
opened in 1928. Today it features several 
hundred different southwestern plants, 
including about 100 members of the 
cactus family alone. The five-kilometer 
trail takes you from desert to mountain 
environments and back again, as the 
arboretum is seated on the abrupt border 
between the Superstition Mountains and 
theSonoran Desert. 

The ghost of Arizona's former self (i.e., 
before the West was won) is still strongly 
felt today. Though it was the last of the 
continental territories to join the Union, in 
1912, the state has been continuously 
inhabited by Native American tribes for 
thousands of years. Even at present nearly 
30 percent of the state's area remains 
Indian land. This is where the Spanish 
conquistadores searched for the Seven 

132 OMNI 



Cities of Gold. It is also a land of ancient 
cliff dwellings and sacred mountains. 
Many of the surviving dwellings are in 
remote areas, and some aren't open to the 
public (there's a lot of active archaeolog- 
ical research going on in the state), but 
you can visit some sites. Perhaps the best 
known are Montezuma Castle and its 
companion site, Montezuma Well. It's here 
that you'll get a vivid idea of how ancient 
peoples adapted to a harsh environment. 

Located some 60 kilometers south of 
Flagstaff, Montezuma Castle is a Sinagua 
Indian cliff dwelling that has survived 
virtually intact for over 500 years. The 
steep climb up to the top of the cliff is 
certainly worth the effort, even though 
visitors are no longer permitted inside the 
"rooms" themselves. The well, several 
kilometers to the north, is in fact an 
artificial lake built by the Smaguas in the 
1400s as part of an ingenious irrigation 
system. There are explanatory exhibits at 
both sites. You may be surprised to see 
just how much technology these early 
Americans possessed. 

For that matter, the remains of a four- 
teenth-century astronomical observatory 
still stand near Casa Grande, an hour's 
drive south of Phoenix. The four-story 
tower was built by a tribe called the 
Hohokam, and, like the observatories of 
such other ancient American peoples as 
the Aztecs, it shows a development of 
astronomical knowledge almost entirely 
different from that of contemporary 
Europe, but workable nonetheless. 
Guided tours are available. 

Arts and crafts of America's natives are 
preserved in the Heard Museum, in 
downtown Phoenix. Originally a private art 
collection, the museum has evolved into 
an extensive display of southwestern silver 
work, baskets, pottery, textiles, and 
artifacts, including the Goldwater 
collection of kachinas (primitive Indian 
ceremonial dolls). The Heard Museum 
also features exhibits on prehistoric life in 
the Southwest and offers lectures. 

The past and the future coexist in 
Arizona. Not far from the Heard Museum is 
the Cosanti Foundation, home of visionary 
architect Paolo Soleri. Soleri is currently 
building a "city of the future" 75 kilometers 
north of Phoenix at a site on the Agua Fria 
River. It is called Arcosanti, from two Italian 
words meaning "beforethings." Here 
Soleri is constructing a prototype 
"arcology," a city of 2,500 human beings 
who will live in harmony with their 
surroundings, rather than in exploitation of 
them. Arcosanti will be a city without 
automobiles, a towering structure 
containing living quarters, shops, and 
playgrounds, healed by the sun and fed 
from a huge terraced greenhouse on the 
hillside below. Only a fraction of the 
planned complex is complete, but what 
exists is open to the public. It is a remark- 
able sight and, oddly enough, one quite 
reminiscent of the cliff dwellings of the 
Sinagua. DO 



THE ARIZONA EXPERIENCE 

Arcosanti 

Cordes Junction, Arizona, north of Phoenix 
on 1-17. For information, contact Cosanti, 
6433 Doubletree Road, Scottsdale, 
Arizona 83523. Phone 602-948-6145. 
Admission fee. 

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum 

twenty kilometers east of Tucson on 
Speedway Boulevard. For information, call 
602-883-1380. Open from 8:30 A.m. to 
sunset. Admission fee. 

Arizona Mineral Museum 

Nineteenth Avenue and McDowell on the 
Stale Fairgrounds in downtown Phoenix. 
Phone 602-255-3791 . Open from 8:00 A.M. 
to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, 
weekends from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. No 
admission fee. 

Barringer Meteor Crater 

East of Flagstaff, Arizona, on U.S. 40. 
Open every day from dawn to dusk. 
Admission fee. 

Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum 

On U S 60 west of Superior. Arizona. For 
information, call 602-689-2811. Open from 
8:30 A.M. to 4:30 PM. Small admission fee. 

Casa Grande Ruins 

South of Phoenix, near Casa Grande on 
1-10. Open daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 rm. 
There is a charge for tours. 

Colossal Cave 

Thirty-five kilometers east of Tucson on 
Old Spanish Trail. Open Monday through 
Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., 
Sunday and holidays from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 
rm. Admission fee. 

Desert Botanical Garden 

Papago Park. Tempe, Arizona. Phone 
602-947-2800. Open daily from 9:00 A.M. 
to sunset. Admission fee. 

Grand Canyon National Park Lodges 

Grand Canyon Village, Arizona 86023. For 
information, call 602-638-2631. 

Heard Museum 

22 East Monte Vista, Phoenix, Arizona. 
Open Monday through Saturday from 
10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Sunday from 1:00 to 
5:00 pm. Admission fee. For information, 
call 602-252-8848. 

Tropic Garden Zoo 

6232 North Seventh Street, Phoenix, 
Arizona. Open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 pm. 
every day. Phone 602-279-9707. 
Admission fee for adults; none for children. 

U.S. Geological Survey 

2255 North Gemini Drive, Flagstaff, 
Arizona. Phone 602-779-3311, ext. 1455. 
Open from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 PM. weekdays. 
No admission fee. 



XEROGRAPHI' 



are reasonable— fifty cents to a dollar a 
shot. 

As a printing tool of remarkable effi- 
ciency, the color copier's practical applica- 
tions are apparently limitless: Christmas 
cards, menus, personalized stationery, 
homemade books, and book jackets. But 
the real fun begins when you "treat" visual 
images, just as record engineers fiddle 
with sound on their studio consoles. Lay 
down a variety of images and your color 
collage will smooth out any traces of layer- 
ing. Copy a black-and-white photo and 
you'll get an artificially tinted image accord- 
ing to how you balance the color filtration. 
Move your original while the machine is 
scanning and your copy will be stretched or 
blurred. Make copies of copies of copies 
ad infinitum and watch the ultratextured 
image gradually lose definition, degenerat- 
ing toward mechanical impressionism. 

One of the most elementary techniques, 
discovered by Sonia Sheridan, is the ther- 
mal image. "3M was copying sheets of 
paper." she says, "and I discovered that 
you can put objects like lace or plants di- 
rectly on ihe machine; so in a sense I dis- 
covered the thermogram the way Man Ray 
discovered the photogram. You know that 
Shroud of Turin they say might have Christ's 
image on the cloth? I fhink that's very pos- 
sibly a ihermogram done by nature." 

More advanced methods, often the re- 
sult of interfacing the copier with other ma- 
chines, are being discovered faster than 
they can be documented. "Anything is pos- 
sible," Sheridan believes. "I used to sing 
and talk into the telecopier. [This involves 
sending audibly encoded images over a 
telephone wire. Some artists like to fool with 
the signal before decoding it, thus altering 
the visual result.] I designed some fabrics 
for people, just by saying their name over 
and over very softly, but you can't sing into 
the present machines. They're more com- 
plicated; so if you sing, they turn right off." 
Besides the telecopier, hookups have in- 
cluded computerized scanning cameras, 
computer-animated films, and video sys- 
tems. 

Firpo's principal interest is the heat- 
transfer process by which images can be 
fused on special paper and then ironed 
onto a variety of surfaces— furniture, 
lamps, T-shirts, pillows, tiles. "I've also dis- 
covered that if you overpaini with oils on top 
of your heat transfer— which is basically an 
acrylic polymer — you get separation when 
the oils dry, which produces this crackly, 
almost Rembrandty Old World look. As you 
stumble onto things, they become part of 
your repertoire. Accidents only lead' to dis- 
coveries of bigger and belter things." 

Stephen Sprouse is a young but highly 
regarded New York City artist who com- 
bines art witrfcommerce to support his 
experiments. "It's using technology to 
make art," he says. "I can draw and paint, 



but it gets boring. The day I started this, 
Patty Hearst was apprehended; so 1 made 
a color-Xerox copy of the New York Post's 
front-page, then photostated it, blew it up, 
and videotaped it. Then I photographed 
the monitor fo get the scanning lines and 
lose the sense of the typeface." 

To support his art, Sprouse has de- 
signed a collection of silk-chiffon dresses 
derived from Xerox-colored scanning lines 
that create optical effects as the" wearer 
moves. (Debby Harry, of the roGk group 
Blondie, wore one while hosting TV's Mid- 
night Special.) He also designs record- 
album covers, which he calls "art for the 
masses." One Blondie mock-up features a 
green Xerox image monitored from Deb- 
by's appearance on the Mike Douglas 
Show and magnified lettering cut out of a 
computerized grocery-store receipt. His 
current project, an Iggy Pop portrait, uses 
the Xerox 6500 to transfer a photo onto 
Dayglo paper. 1 put some orange Dayglo 
paper into the machine, and if came out 
great; but when I tried pink Dayglo paper, 
the machine caught fire." 

Public recognition of copy art seems to 
be grudging but inevitable. "This is just like 
electronic painting, " says Frpo. "The ma- 
chine doesn't do anything on its own; input 
is controlled by the individual. Eastman 
House in Rochester is doing a retrospec- 
tive of the copy process, and the Museum 
of Modern Art [in New York] is buying 
pieces of copy art." 

Sheridan says, "There's a time lag going 
on. The critics are not educated; if they 
don't recognize something's form and it 
hasn't been written about, they find it very 
hard fo appreciate. Right now I have four- 
teen pieces in a 'Photo in the Seventies' 
show. They're flowers; so they're easy to 
look at, but in color that's never been seen 
before. The artist has to be at a level above 
and beyond just the making of pictures and 
images." 

Unfortunately, for all their imagination, 
artists have been limited by fhe machine's 
design, which caters to modest-sized files 
and forms. They look forward to a wider 
selection of color, increased precision from 
laser scanners, and paper on rolls or larger 
than the current 8Va-by-11- or 8'/?-by-14- 
tnch standard. Sheridan envisions small 
copy systems similar to pocket calculators, 
which already have little thermal tapes in 
them. Meanwhile, she'd like to go on televi- 
sion to teach basic imaging systems to the 
population at large, just as Julia Child 
teaches cooking. The more people are in- 
terested, the more rapidly it will develop. 

"It's all on its way," says Firpo. "Once 
you've found the secret, the modification is 
just around the corner If Chester Carlson 
were around today, he'd be delighted that a 
machine he designed for one purpose is 
being used for multiple purposes, because 
he was truly a man of vision. In the latter 
part of his life he turned to Zen Buddhism. 
His wife believes very much in reincar- 
nation, you know— she talks to him all 
the lime." DQ 



EMRTIES 

ANSWER TO GAMES [p.-irje 144: 

Nine Card and Hot are both strategically 
identical with tic-tac-toe. In Nine Card, if 
we list all fhe triplets of distinct digits from 
1 to 9 thai sum to 1&-, they can be arranged 
in the familiar Magic Square (below) so 
thai every row, column, and main diagonal 



2 9 4 
7 5 3 
6 1 8 



adds up to 15. Memorize this Magic 
Square and the Hot grid (below) on which 
every row, column, and main diagonal has 

a single letter in common, and you will be 
unbeatable. Drawing a card in either 



HOT 


FORM 


WOES 


TANK 


HEAR 


WASP 


TIED 


BRIM 


SHIP 



game is equivalent to making a move in 
the corresponding cell of a tic-tac-toe 
board. 

If you can play a perfect game of 
tic-tac-toe, you can play a perfect game of 
Hot or Nine Card. You can always force at 
leasf a draw against any player and have 
a distinct advantage over an opponent 
who is hot aware that he is playing a dis- 
guised version of tic-tac-toe. 

ANSWERS; QUOTES QUIZ 

1. Pride goeth oefo.o destruction. (Not "a 
fall") 

2. To paint the lily (Not "gild") 

3. A little learning is a dangerous thing. 
(Not "knowledge") 

4. A penny for your thought. (Not 
"thoughts") 

5. Music hath charts io soothe a savage 
breast. (Not "the savage beast") 

6. Imitation is the sincerest of" flattery. (Not 
"form of") 

7. Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no 
fibs, (Not "lies") 

8. Give him an inch, he'll take an ell. (Not 
"a mile"] 

9. Variety is the very spice of life. (Not 
"spice") 

10. The love of money is the root of all evil. 
(Not "money") 

11. Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop 
to drink. (Not "and not a") 

12. I only regret thai I have but one life to 
lose for my country (Not "give") 

13. Beggars should be no choosers. (Not 
"can't"') 

14. Winning isn't everything, but wanting to 
win is. (Not "it's the only thing.") That's what 
Lombardi said in a 1960 interview with 
Robert Riger. DO 



EMRTH 



compele with condors in getting at the 
giant corpses of that period's megafauna. 
It was the condor, then, that waited on mu- 
sical wings for mammoths and glyptodonts 
and chlamylheres to die. They watched 
Megatherium, the giant ground sloth, and 
Tapirus, the giant tapir, as those antedilu- 
vian creatures struggled in the La Brea 
tars, and sometimes they landed and be- 
came trapped themselves. They broke off 
their soaring and dived to avoid passes by 
their giant Pleistocene cousin Teratornis, a 
supercondor weighing 23 kilograms, per- 
haps the largest bird ever to fly. Teratornis 
died out with the Pleistocene. Gymnogyps 
had the last laugh. 

In historical times the California condor 
ranged as far north as British Columbia, as 
far south as Baja California. Today their 
domain has shrunk to several counties in 
southern California. 

Forty years ago Carl Koford began 
studying condors. Then the population was 
60 birds, he estimates. A subsequent study 
showed that in the period 1946-1963 the 
number fell by a third — 40 birds survived. 
The most recent study estimates 30. The 
condor appears to be going the way of 
Teratornis . 

In February of this year the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (USFWS), after consulta- 
tion with the National Audubon Society, 
circulated a draft proposal for meeting the 
condor crisis. Its first recommendation was 
that "all free-living condors should be 
trapped, individually marked, and fitted 
with radio transmitters." A number of the 
trapped birds would be bred in captivity, 
and their offspring would be returned to the 
wild. 

"It's absolutely unnecessary and proba- 
bly harmful and may wipe these birds out 
tar sooner than would happen without inter- 
ference," Koford says. Condors live 30 to 40 
years, he notes, and so there is no danger 
of their immediate disappearance. There is 
reason to hope thai the condors will recover 
naturally, he believes. The use of DDT has 
diminished recently; as a consequence, 
the brown pelican, for one, is coming back 
from the edge of extinction. Use of com- 
pound 1080 to poison mammals is decreas- 
ing in the condor's range, and there are 
lewer deer hunters. Koford notes that the 
USFWS itself estimates that there are 6 or 7 
immature birds among the 30 survivors — 
an encouraging increase over the 4 imma- 
tures estimated in 1974. Capture will be 
traumatic for the birds, both physically and 
psychically. There is no guarantee that they 
will breed in captivity or that zoo-propa- 
gated birds will be knowledgeable enough 
about the subtleties of condorhood to sur- 
vive in the wild. We have time enough, he 
thinks, to ta-ke several more appropriate 
steps before resorting to measures so 
drastic and untried. 

"There is a great deal of learned behavior 

134 OMNI 



in condors," he says. "How are these re- 
leased birds going to know about avoiding 
storms and attacks by eagles, and how will 
they' compete with other birds at the car- 
cass? There's no precedent to suggest 
they can do it. I keep ducks. If I put a new 
duck in with three other ducks, sometimes 
they kill it. Or like hatchery-raised trout. 
Trout raised in a hatchery don't act like 
other trout. They're in the wrong part of the 
stream; they're eating the wrong food. A 
released bird is only half a bird." 

The USFWS and the Audubon Society 
dismiss Koford's objections. They are con- 
vinced that the condor's plight is desperate 
and requires desperate efforts at salvation. 
The dismissal of Koford would be a simpler 
matter if only he were something other than 
the world's foremost expert on this small 
tribe of huge birds. But that is exactly what 
he is. His book The California Condor re- 
mains the major work in the field and nearly 
the only one. 

When Koford was twenty-four, at an age 



<*There is a great deal of 

learned behavior in 

condors. How will a released 

bird know how to 

compete with other birds at 

a carcass? A released 

bird is only half a bird 3 



when he should have been drinking beer 
with his buddies and running around in 
Model-A's, he was living instead in a cave 
half a mile from the caves where the con- 
dors lived. He was shooting horses to see 
whether the condors were interested in the 
cadavers. He was traveling the sernides- 
erts of upper and lower California, ques- 
lioning vaqueros about condors they had 
seen. He was photographing the remains 
of animals after condors had finished with 
them. 

Mostly, for three years of his life, he was 
watching. He watched the ponderous, 
hopping run of condor take-off, one foot 
striking the ground slightly ahead of the 
other, the bird covering 5 to 12 meters 
before it was airborne. He watched con- 
dors in flight: the double dip they execute to 
prevent stalling or losing altitude; the flex 
glide, in which the dihedral angle of the 
wings diminishes or becomes negative 
while the bird gains speed. He watched 
immature birds tilt their tails too frequently, 
overcont rolling. He saw them nearly turn 
themselves over in attempting turns. He 
watched birds descending, and he would 
note how early their landing gear came 



down — the feet dropping ten minutes and 
300 meters above the ground. He watched 
the characteristic yawn of condors on land- 
ing. He watched them stretch themselves, 
like joggers, before taking off in the morn- 
ing, and he noted that they seldom 
stretched during the rest of the day. 

A rare thing happens about 20 pages 
into Tha California Condor— something 
especially rare in scientific monographs. 
Koford's descriptions of condor anatomy 
and behavior are lean, clear-eyed, free of 
jargon, instantly visualizable. The bird 
comes alive. If the day ever comes when all 
that remains of condor flesh and feathers 
lies on museum trays, then all of condor 
movement and culture will lie between the 
covers of Koford's book. 

I knew what I felt about the bold USFWS 
plan for condors before I met Koford , before 
hearing his wishful alternatives, his emo- 
tion-charged views on the bird with which 
he spent his youth. I knew he was right. 

The line, "All free-living condors should 
be trapped . . . and fitted with radio trans- 
mitters," was enough for me. I did not have 
to read further, to the part about laparoto- 
mies that would be performed on the birds 
and other indignities they would suffer. 

Koford's view of what a condor is, is the 
subtlest and most complex of all the views 
debated by birdmen, and thus, I think, he 
has the best chance of being right. 

Often something seems to happen to 
men for whom wildlife becomes a profes- 
sion. The USFWS and Audubon people 
have become so concerned with the prob- 
lem of the condor that they have lost sight of * 
what a bird is. What use to us is a great 
soarer that has been handled, marked, 
laparotomized, popcorned by zoo crowds, 
and radio-tagged? What use is such a bird 
to itself? 

Having dreamed up a neat bit of technol- 
ogy with an application to biology — a min- 
iature transmitter — we are compelled to try 
it out. It is neat, but it will never tell us as 
much about condors as the human eye, 
with a patient brain behind it, can tell us. 
(Those were the instruments that Koford 
used in 1939.) 

Along with Koford, I suspect that capture 
will do more harm than good, that condors 
can breed themselves better than humans 
can breed them, To think otherwise is 
another instance of hubris in the species 
thai has brought condors low. 

And what if nothing can bring the birds 
back? What if Gymnogyps, watching Los 
Angeles sprawl toward its last hills, has 
simply decided it is time to go? Perhaps 
feeding on ground squirrels, for a bird that 
once fed on mastodonts, is too steep a fall 
from glory. If it is time for the condor to follow 
Teratornis, it should go out unburdened by 
radio transmitters. 

Departing, the condors might do us a 
final service, in the manner of mineshaft 
canaries. They might open our eyes. When 
the vultures watching your civilization 
begin dropping dead from their snags, it is 
time to pause and wonder. DO 



FDRunn 

CONTINUED FROM PAGE \2 

be different types of antimatter, such as 
antimatter for hydrogen, antimatter for 
titanium, etc. Antimatter will probably be 
found only for natural elements. 

If this theory is true, then antimatter of 
one element will not affect antimatter of 
another element. Thus, the system that 
Post described would not be necessary. 
There are two easier methods of using'an- 
timatter as a weapon: 1) If the above theory 
is true, then the antimatter could be loaded 
into a warhead whose structure does not 
match that of the antimatter When- the an- 
timatter hits the target, the antimatter and 
regular-matter atoms would annihilate 
each other, causing the target to "decom- 
pose" and fall apart; 2) the antimatter could 
be concentrated into a beam of light, such 
as a laser beam. The beam would be fired 
at the target and it would fall apart as de- 
scribed in method 1. The antimatter could 
be of the element boron, and the target 
could be a plane made of a boron compos- 
ite in the example described above. 

George Kontogiannis 
Albany, N.Y. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the May issue of 
Omni. However, Jonathan V Post, in his ar- 
ticle "Cybernetic War," made, in my opin- 
ion, two misleading statements. He seems 
to imply that electrons flow through a con- 
ductor at a very high velocity and that this 
velocity is somewhat tied to the speed of 
computations in a computer and the speed 
of light. 

Electrons in a conductor move at ex- 
ceedingly slow velocities (a few millimeters 
per second) as compared with the speed 
of light (2.98 x 10 " millimeters per second). 
Even though electron speed in a circuit is 
small, the current impulse— and thus the 
energy transfer in the conductor— Is at the 
speed of light. 

A laser or an electrical conductor will 
transmit data at equal speeds since both 
electromagnetic phenomena transmit en- 
ergy at the speed of light. 

Joseph Meli 
Lake Havasu City Ariz. 

Gullible UFOs 

Bravo for Thomas F Monteleone, for his 
perceptive piece "The Gullibility Factor" 
[Last Word, May 1979], which describes 
how his practical-joke claim of having vis- 
ited Woodrow Derenberger's nonexistent 
planet Lanulos aboard a flying saucer was, 
and is, so readily accepted by "UFO be- 
lievers." 

I, too, had an interesting experience with 
Derenberger during his 1967 tour of Wash- 
ington, D.C., radio and TV programs, when 
he described his alleged visits to Lanulos 
and told how his extraterrestrial friends 
often droppedTn lor coffee or dinner at his 
house in West Virginia. 

When 1 asked Derenberger how long it 



had taken him to tly aboard a UFO to 
Lanulos, a planet he earlier had said was 
three and a half light-years distant, he re- 
plied, "About an hour and a halt," I was so 
stunned that I forgot 1o ask if that was one- 
way or round trip. Later, when viewers ot the 
TVprogramwereabletocallin, one woman 
severely chastised me because, she said, 
my expression revealed that I questioned 
Derenberger's claim, and she added that 
his honest face indicated he was clearly 
telling the truth, 

Philip J. Klass 

Senior Editor 

Aviation Week & Space Technology 

Washington, DC. 

I am most pleased by Thomas Montele- 
one's treatment of the UFO cultist in his Last 
Word. He is correct when he calls the UFO 
cult vast, and its size can only be guessed 
at. But I wonder if he is aware that UFO 
cults revolve not only around alleged contact- 
ees but around "contacters"— individuals 
who claim to receive "channeled messages" 
from extraterrestrials, a kind of telepathic 
correspondence. Though the messages are 
usually very vague and uninformative, 
"study groups" spend their time diligently 
examining these messages. The contacter 
or channel very often gains a kind of re- 
spect, formally accorded only to the most 
spiritual of gurus, among the group. 

There seems to be a tremendous need 
among these people not only to believe in 
something greater but to believe that this 
"something greater" has a personal inter- 
est in them, as if they were the emissaries of 
a world-transforming New Word. Unfortu- 
nately (not that the cultists notice), the New 
Word is always a coast? ess ■-spetition of old 
religious doctrine, soaked in saucer fuel, 
and put into circulation as newly revealed 
cosmic wisdom. 

Jeffrey Benner 
DePere, Wis. 

The Iceman Cometh 

Referring to Forum, May 1979 ["Planet 

Farming"]; How can anyone write a letter 

containing the statement' "no significant 
quantities of ice are known to exist on Mars" 
when the Viking orbiters show a north polar 
cap 2,000 kilometers wide and consisting 
entirely of water and ice? The ice cap is at 
least several kilometers thick (Crater 
Koroleu, 90 kilometers wide and approxi- 
mately 15 kilometers deep, is completely 
filled). The north cap contains 10 to 40 mil- 
lion cubic kilometers of ice, and the perma- 
frost contains at least that much. And since 
the much smaller south cap is thought to 
contain CO a , it would be easy (relatively 
speaking) to supply heat to evaporate and 
induce a mild greenhouse effect, to va- 
porize more CO; and melt more ice, to va- 
porize more CO z , and so on. 

A terraform.ed Mars boring? Not with 
such terrain features as Nix Olympica and 
Valles fvlarineris. 

William A, Klein, IV 
Rye, N.Y 



On self-help 
and awareness 

A DOCTOR REPORTS: 




Marcus Kuypers, M.D., Houston 

"I'd had enough ot philosophy class 
debates. I was looking lor something to apply 
in both my professional and personal life," 
says Marcus Kuypers, M.D. 

"A person I respected recommended 
Dianetics. It explained how human beings 
function and interact. It laid out techniques 

"Dianetics made 

me more alert, 

more alive." 



for handling psychosomatic illness. 

"I got rid of severe tension headaches. I 
was more alert, able to get more ot what I 
wanted from life. 

"I had more energy. I could accomplish in a 
day what I would have out off for two or three 
days before. 
Even my friends noticed I seemed more alive 

"Dianetics opened my eyes to the world 

around me. Because I feel good every day, I 
enjoy life and experience it more fully than 
ever before." 

Dianetics is the first effective science of the 
mind anyone can understand and use. 

Find out tor yourself how Dianetics has 
many pi 
tials and al 

Buy it. 
Read it. 
Use it. 




Send me Dianetics: 

The Modern Science of Mental Health 
by L. Ron Hubbard 

Dept 0-4A 

Publications Organization 

4833 Fountain Avenue, East Annex 

Los Angeles, Calitornia 90029 



MetaScience Quarterly 

A New Age Journal of Parapsychology 
J -32 Kingston, Rhode Island 02381 

• Talaklnasls 
• Precognition 
• Supar Psychics 
• Pyramldology 
• Astrology 

• Kirlian Photography 

• Quantum Physics 

of Consciousness 



While Mass Media slee 

ol paiapsychologists are working diligently 10 

uncover [he hidden laws ol Ihe Cosmos. Our 

sian Parapsychology Laboratories, Transcon- 
tinental telepathy tests. Holographic brain 



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be kept safe for the tuture. Store 
Library Case made oi black sirnt 



Send your check or money order 
($4.95 each; 3 tor r-S. 00. f; i..n S?-:.O0 
[j-.wiijs il. USA orders only) to: OMNI 
L.bi-i yCase, PO. Boi5120, Philadelpl 
Pa. 19141. 

Complete satisfaction guaranteed 
iionsy rounded. Allow 4 weeks for 
delivery. 



Power Base 

I was greaily pleased by ihe presentation of 
my .article "Industry Goes to Space," in the 
April 1979 issue. The photography was 
outstanding. Of course, we will be using 
composite plastics instead of aluminum in 
beam machines, but that didn't detract 
from the attractiveness of the layout. 

I was disturbed by Frederik Pohl's article 
"Power Play" [April 1979]. I have known and 
respected Fred tor many years. However, 
he is far off base in this article as a result of 
oversimplification and perhaps a desire to 
sensationalize. The answer to the energy 
problem is not to slop right now; we cannot, 
for many valid reasons. And there are 
solutions. The size, complexity, and effec- 
tiveness of our social institutions are de- 
pendent upon the energy that we have 
available to support them. I grow very dis- 
turbed when a futurist of high reputation 
such as Fred simply throws up his hands, 
throws in the towel, and tells us that we are 
doomed. II bothers me when human be- 
ings lie down and quit instead of using their 
brains to solve the problem. It enrages me 
when somebody does it for the overt pur- 
pose of sensationalism and perhaps the 
covert purpose oi leading us into a cen- 
trally controlled bureaucratic collectivism. 
G. Harry Stine 
Phoenix, Ariz. 

It is disturbing to read articles on energy, 
such as "Power Play," by Frederik Pohl, 
which are full of inaccuracies and miscon- 
ceptions. 

With respect to my inlerest, hydroelectric 
power, this article indicated that there is 
essentially very ■ tile r emain;r.g potential for 
development. This is incorrect. At present 
there are approximately 59.2 million kilo- 
watts of convention a: ceveloped capacity 
and plants, Which will produce 7.5 million 
kilowatts, under construction. Existing hy- 
droelectric projects save the equivalent of 
more than 459 million barrels of oil each 
year, it is estimated that, potentially, the 
United States could develop an additional 
102 million kilowatts, capable oi generating 
the energy equivalent of 656 million barrels 
of oil annually. In addition, there are in this 
country over 47,000 dams that do not have 
hydroelectric power plants. Use of these 
dams alone could provide over 54 million 
kilowatts. 

The statements indicating that hydro- 
electric projects cannot iast forever be- 
cause their reservoirs will fill with silt are 
incorrect. Because the power plant's water 
intakes must be located significantly below 
the normal reservoir level, for hydraulic rea- 
sons, silt can only accumulate to the lower 
lip of the intakes. Any silt that enters Ihe 
reservoir after it accumulates to the intake 
level would {as with any river) be flushed 
downstream through the power plant, pro- 
viding an upper limit to silt accumulation. 
Ronald A. Corso 
Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission 
Washington, D.C. 



Touch of Class 

I'm so. disappointed in you! Why did you do 
it? How could you include "God Is an Iron" 
in your May jssue? You have so much lo 
choose from that is exciting and interesting 
in science today. Why would you choose to 
print such a base story as that? There are 
other science-fiction outlets tor stories of 
this caliber. Not you! You have too much 
class for that story Have some pride in 
yourself. 

L, Adams 
New York. N.Y 

De gustibus non est disputandum, but 
"God Is an Iron" is indeed a classy story, In 
the opinion of the editors. Not every 
science-fiction tale involves spaceships, 
ray guns, robots, or jut-jawed heroes. 
Spider Robinson writes adult fiction, with 
real human emotion and strong story 
values. — Ed, 

From Russia with Love 
Because of the slowness of the APO mail 
system, I first received the January issue of 
Omni in late February Since that time I have 
read every article in that issue and sub- 
sequent Ones (the April issue arrived in 
April for some strange reason). For the first 
time I can say that there is now a magazine 
that I can read cover to cover nearly 
nonstop, enjoy each article, and at Ihe 
same time learn something from each is- 
sue. 

I especially enjoy the Games section and 
the Continuum articles. Also, I have been a, 
UFO follower/ believer for a long time and 
enjoyed the April issue's pictorial im- 
mensely 

My issues of Omni get extremely good 
mileage here; there are many people in my 
office, as well as scattered throughout the 
embassy, who await the arrival of the next 
issue as much as I do. I believe that many 
subscriptions are forthcoming. 

Keep up the superfine quality of the 
magazine and don't change a thing! 

Glenn A. Miller 
U.S. Embassy 
Moscow, USSR 

Spinoza's God 

I was puzzled by the Inclusion of the Ein- 
stein quotation "1 shall never believe that 
God plays dice with the world," which ap- 
peared in the Continuum section of April. 
Had Einstein known that that brief utter- 
ance was destined to be thrust about with 
such vigor and so often by those deter- 
mined to project an image of a "religious" 
Einstein, he would never have made the 
statement. The fact is that Einstein did not 
believe in revealed religion. Once he was 
asked outright whether he believed in God. 
His reply: "I believe in Spinoza's God, who 
reveals Himself in the orderly harmony of all 
that exists, not in that God who concerns 
Himself with fates and actions of human 
beings." 

Roy A. Gallant 
Rangeley, Maine OQ 



pressure on its surface is at least as high as 
Earth's atmospheric pressure, lapetus 
seems to have one dark side, reflecting 
little light, and one bright side, a much bet- 
ter reflector. Cassini himself noted a 
change of brightness and even suggested 
the cause was a difference in reflectivity. 

The famous rings ot Saturn are one of the 
spectacular sights of the solar system. The 
planet has been deprived of its status as 
the only ringed planet, for Uranus has some 
- small, dark rings, and the Voyager space- 
craft found a very small ring system around 
Jupiter last spring. Saturn's rings are cer- 
tainly the most glorious. 

There are three or four rings, perhaps 
more. The two brightest rings are sepa- 
rated by Cassini's Division. A faint inner 
ring, sometimes called the Crepe Ring, lies 
closer to the planet, and perhaps there is 
even a fainter ring inside that. Occasional 
observations have spotted an obscure 
outer ring, perhaps extending twice as far 
from the planet as the bright rings. 

While the trajectory of Pioneer was being 
planned, the notion naturally came up of 
flying inside the rings. The decision was 
finally made and executed with the 
spacecraft's midcourse maneuver, in 1977, 
to play it safe and remain outside the ring 
system. We know the rings are made of 
rocks, boulder-sized, covered with ice — 
possibly even made of ice. Shooting inside 
the visible ring system was asking for a 
collision, some scientists said. Others were 
willing to risk ft to get a closer view. 

Pioneer 11 was launched from Earth in 
1973, a little after Pioneer 10. Both headed 
for Jupiter Pioneer 11 got there and sent 
back photographs in December 1974. With 
an assist from Jupiter — which swung it. 
around at high velocity and threw it back 
across the solar system — Pioneer 11 
headed for Saturn. Pioneer 10 is following a 
course outside the solar system. 

The mission — including both space 
vehicles — cosi about $414 million, or about 
$2 for each U.S. citizen, spread over more 
than ten years of the project. If you think this 
is a huge sum, think again. It is about one 
thirty-ninth the amount spent for tobacco in 
the United States in 1976 alone. In addition 
to their planetary missions, both space- 
craft continue to. send back valuable data 
on the interplanetary environment; they 
continue to return interest on our invest- 
ment in them 

As you read this, Pioneer 11 is sending 
back so-called far-encounter photo- 
graphs. When we see those close-ups, it 
will be with a sense of achievement and of 
anticipation. When we recall how much bet- 
ter the Voyager photographs of Jupiter 
were, compared with those of the Pioneers, 
and that the Voyagers will arrive at Saturn in 
a few yeaTs, we can hardly wait. 

We can begin rewritingthe books on Sep- 
tember 1, but stay tuned to this planet. OO 



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Titles and quotes 

with a doubie-take twist 



coruiPETiTioru 



By Scot Morris 



This contest called not for true 
originality or creativity but for an 
eagle eye and a sense of the 
absurd. We were looking for passages and 
titles that would cause a reader to do a 
double-take. 

Considered off the mark were; (1) 
obvious misprints ("for sale; Two 
bedroom cabin with naughty pine walls."); 
(2) absent-minded headlines ("World's 
Largest Galaxy," "John Wayne Discusses 
His Life with Barbara Walters"); (3) 
newspaper double-entendres from sloppy 
(or sly) prooireading ("Grandmother of 
Eight Makes Hole in One" and "Club 
Hears Vegetable Talk"): (4) the gems of 
overworked headline writers ("Beetles Bug 
Bread Bakers and Bog Down Biologists"); 
and (5) passages clearly intended as 
satirical ("Write down everything you have 
forgotten," from "The Complete Memory 
Test," March Omni; "a running man travels 
faster than a walking man," from "Static 
Gravity," April Omni). 

What we enjoyed most was "laughing in 
church": A passage is far funnier in the 
setting of a stuffy scientific journal, a 
textbook, or an official government report 
than it is in a newspaper or a magazine. 
For serious collectors of such scientific 
silliness, we heartily recommend The 
Journal of Irreproducible Results, official 
organ of the Society for Basic 
Irreproducible Research, P.O. Box 234, 
Chicago Heights, Illinois 6041 1 . 

GRAND PRIZE WINNER ($100): 
"Port Noise Complaints: Verbal and 
Behavioral Reactions to Airport-Related 
Noise." (Fred E. Fiedler and Judith Fiedler, 
Journal of Applied Psychology, 1975, 60, 
4,498-506.) 

— Jack Feldman, Gainesville, Fla. 

RUNNERS-UP ($25 EACH): 
"The Doppler effecl can be demonstrated 
by placing a whistle in the end of a long 
piece of rubber tubing, and whirling the 
tube in a horizontal circle above the head 
while blowing the whistle." (From 
Advanced Level Physics, Third Edition, by 
M. Nelkon and P Parker, 628.) 

— Stephen Burridge, London, England 

138 OMNI 



'An Instance of the Pitfalls Prevalent in 
Graveyard Research." (R. J. Myers, 
Biometrics, 1963, 19, 643-50.) 

— David Rudderow, Wilmington, Del. 

"The Unsuccessful Ss i -Treatment of a 
Case of 'Writer's Block.' " (Dennis Upper, 
Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 
1974, 7, 497. The article contains no text 
and no references, but is accompanied by 
"Comments by Reviewer A," calling it "the 
most concise manuscript I have ever 
seen — yet it contains sufficient detail to 
allow other investigators to replicate Dr. 
Upper's failure," along with the reviewer's 
recommendation that it be published 
without revision.) 

— Ken Levasseur, Amherst, N.H. 

"Members of the group holding lesser 
academic rank were encouraged to 
capture and hold open the mouths of the 
two alligators while the more experienced 
members obtained bacterial cultures." 
(From Journal of the American Medical 
Association, 1971, 218, 255.) 

— Jeff Doerner, Los Angeles, Calif. 

"NOTE: Complaints of discrimination 
because of age will be accepted only from 
persons who are at least 40 and not over 
65 years of age at the time the alleged 
discriminatory act occurred." (Notice in VA 
Employee Newsletter, December 2, 1974.) 
— E. Allyn Yount, Danville, Ind. 

"Mental Travel; Some Reservations." 
(Article by Charles L. Richman, David B. 
Mitchell, and J. Steven Reznick, Journal of 
Experimental Psychology: Human 
Perception and Performance, 1979, 5, 1.) 
— Andrew J. Rdzsa, Tallahassee, Fla. 

"Abdominal migraine — diagnosis and 
therapy." (P. O. Lundberg, Headache, July 
1975, 15 (2), 122-25.) 

— Belva Carter, Medical Lake, Wash. 

"Stimulus Selection and Tracking During 
Urination: Autoshaping Directed Behavior 
with Toilet Targels."(R. K. Siegel, J. Appl. 
Behavior Anal. , 197.7, 10, 255.) 

—Richard P. Karasik, Saratoga, Calif. 



"Bosco Milk Amplifier. Real Chocolate 
Flavored Syrup/Anif.cialiy Flavored." 
(Label on a jar of chocolate-milk mix.) 

— James Henriques, Tallahassee, Fla. 

HONORABLE MENTION: 
"The concept of the bladder as an inert 
container of urine no longer holds water." 
(Conclusion in Lancet, 1973, //, 1425.) 

— Evan Rudderow, Wilmington, Del. 

"The Contribution of the Mule to Scientific 
Thought." (Article by R. V Short, J. 
Reprod, Pert., Suppl., 1975, 23. 359-64.) 
— Terry Ashley, Durham, N.C. 

"Penile Frostbite: An Unforeseen Hazard 
of Jogging." (Melvin Hershkowitz. M.D., in 
New England Journal of Medicine, 
January 20, 1977.) 

— Richmond C. Frielund, Ann Arbor, Mich. 

"Environmental Conditions Inside a 
Burning Cigarette." (Richard R. Baker, 
Analytical Calorimetry, 1977. 4, 193-202.) 
— Bryan R. Brown, Columbus, Ohio 

"Plants in Heat." (By Roger M. Knutson in 
Natural History, March 1979, 42.) 

— Lesley Willey, Hampden Highlands. 

Maine; and Bobby Woody, Blbuntville, 
Tenn. 

"Scheduled plane crash near New Hope, 
Ga." (Entry in Accident Facts: 1978 
Edition, by the National Safety Council.) 

— G. N. Prideaux, New York, N.Y 

'Air Pollution in Art and Literature." (By R 
Brimblecombeand C. Ogden, Weather, 
1977, 32 (8): 285-91). 

— PeterWellner, New Berlin. N.Y. 

"Boys Who Menstruate and Later Become 
Pregnant," (Archives of Environ- 
mental Health, 1970, 20, 302.) 

— Richard P. Karasik. Saratoga, Calif. 

"The Tecopa pupfish has been removed 
from the endangered species list because 
it is extinct." (From the Waterbury 
Republican, March 11, 1979.) 

—Susan Murray, Waterbury, Conn. DO 





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L^fc^^B Kit a J71 

■ 



Australia's Greal Barrier Reef is the home 
of this copepod, a crustacean of the genus 
Sapphirina, here showing its distinctive 
protective coloration. One of the most 
common characteristics of the animal 



mimicry, to ii 

warning, to advertise inedibility, poisons, 
other harmful trait. Or it 

.1 elicit the "fight or flight" mechanism in 
predators. 

The copepod's outer body is composed 
of minute platelets that contain miniature 
grids, which act much like a diffraction 
grating. In certain positions the animal 
appears transparent; in others, the lighl 
hits these grids in such a way as to sho 
its warning colors. 

Peter Parks, of Oxford Scientific Films, 
took this photograph on a specially 
constructed optical bench, using a Nikon 
a body with special Zeiss optics, 
n-made tungsten lamps, and 
Kodak Ektachrome film. DO 




ELEVISION 



CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2i 

spaceships. In the Fifties the concept was 
unknown, "We didn't think of it. We were 
working with artists and designers who 
were still strapped to earthbound design 
conceptions: streamlining and soft edges 
to cut down on wind resistance. All we had 
to go by was the current thought of the time, 
the Cottier's articles. We took things a little 
beyond that, but not much. 
' "Man in Space started off with an audi- 
ence crash course in the history of rockets. 
The approach was light since, if you're 
dealing with history, you can generally 
teach more if you keep people interested. 
Space medicine was explained by Dr. 
Haber What would happen to a man in 
space? Then Willy Ley showed how the first 
satellite would be put into space and why it 
would stay there. . . . When we actually 
made our firs! manned trip into space, Von 
Braun took over. President Eisenhower saw 
the show and called Walt personally and 
asked to have a print for the Pentagon. 

"This was all before Sputnik, of course, 
and the pressures to beat the Russians into 
space were enormous for Von Braun. When 
we started to work on our next show, Man 
and the Moon, I was sent a Russian maga- 
zine, showing how man was going to land 
on the moon. I put it upon my wall, and Von 
Braun saw it one night. He read the scien- 
tific article that had come with the picture 
and turned to me rather seriously. 'Ward,' 
he said, 'looks like we'd better get started,' 
talking about the show, but really meaning 
that if we didn't do something soon, they'd 
beat us to the moon. 

"On our Man and the Moon show we took 
the same approach in the opening, giving a 
history of our relationship with it. Stories 
about the moon, legends, old wives' tales. 
So the humor brought people in to listen. 
Then we went on to the problems of con- 
structing a space conveyor that would take 
man on the first trip around the moon. 
That's where Von Braun came in again. We 
were really getting into the hardware as- 
pects of constructing the first space wheel: 
flying parts up into orbit and assembling it 
in the vacuum of space. Then we flew 
around the back side of the moon, which no 
one had ever actually seen, and ended up 
coming back to the space wheel. 

"The inside of the ship wasn't quite as 
scientific as the outside, because theory 
didn't go that far yet. We just rented a lot of 
hokey instruments from a guy in Hollywood 
and did our best, all with Von Braun's ap- 
proval, of course." When the show was 
made, it was thought that a rocket wouldn't 
be able to carry enough fuel for the round 
trip to the moon and back to Earth, but 
"developments in horsepower and motors 
went by leaps„and bounds afterwards, far 
beyond what even Von Braun thought." 

The high point of the show was an EVA, a 
walk in space, which wouldn't be repeated 
in real life for more than a decade. "I knew 

142 OMNI 



we had to have a crisis, or the whole thing'd 
be just a goddamn documentary So we 
had the spacecraft punctured by a meteor- 
ite, Shot the escaping fuel by injecting 
some kind of red petroleum liquid into wa- 
ter. Our knowledge and tricks weren't as 
developed as they are now Von Braun 
wanted to use a 'bottle suit'— a mini-rocket 
ship that had its own motors, arms, and so 
forth. They wouldn't have an umbilical cord 
to the ship, or even a lifeline. The little thing 
would have its own small servomotor or 
rocket at the bottom and a variety of tools 
that could snap on for various purposes. 

"The third picture, Mars and Beyond, is 
my favorite. It deals with more than space. It 
covers the origins of life. Brought up in a 
Protestant family where Heaven was up in 
the sky and the whole universe revolved 
around us, especially Americans, who are 
better than anyone else, I never bought 
that. I got a long letter after the first two 
shows, berating me about our views, as 
though space and what was up there were 
reserved for God alone. We got flak from all 
over, but we kept right on ahead. 

"In Mars and Beyond we started out 
again with a prelude of cartoons showing 
what everybody had said about the possi- 
bility of life on other planets, from La Fon- 
taine to H. G. Wells. Then we got a little 
more serious, showing what people had 
thought about the other planets, ending up 
with Mars as the likeliest place to find other 
life forms. We went to the Lowell Observa- 
tory and looked through the facts there. 
When it came to determining how we might 
get to Mars, Von Braun suggested Dr. Ernst 
Stuhlinger, who'd been working on 
atomic-particle rockets. We showed what it 
would be like getting there, how long it 
would take, and so on, based on their cal- 
culations. When we finally made a landing, 
we pondered what we might find. Well, we 
were proved wrong by time, because the 
thrust system and the rocket actually used 
to get to Mars were totally different, and 
when we got there, the surface was just 
nothing like what we expected. Nobody 
ever thought that the place would be cov- 
ered with craters. 

"When we were working on the show, a 
few of us went out one night lo look at Mars 
through a big nine-inch refractor tele- 
scope. There was Von Braun and Willy Ley 
and me and the guy who owned the tele- 
scope, Rex Bulhannon. And il was the first 
time Von Braun had seen Mars that close 
up. We had about five minutes when the 
cloud cover broke and we could see every- 
thing. Dark spots. The polar caps. Every- 
one was excited and shouting, and Von 
Braun was so fascinated and thrilled that 
he almost was jumping up and down. And 
then the computers started going in his 
head, and he got this faraway look in his 
eyes. He started seeing ways of being able 
to photograph Mars without the distortion 
of a telescope, like from space itself. As we 
drove back to the hotel, we'd talk to him, 
and he'd answer but he'd be looking over 
his shoulder at Mars as he did it." OO 



rlm 

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2$ 

the others. What they didn't reckon on was j 
the amazing success of Star Wars, which ' 
helped every film in the summer of 1977, 
and Bond more than others. With a larger- 
than-average effects budget, spectacular 
scenery, and Moore now settled into the i 
role, The Spy Who Loved Me. made over 
$100 million, 

"We really worked hard on that one," 
Meddings remarked. "There was that open- 
ing parachute getaway of 3ond's from the 
mountain, the supertanker's 'eating' of the 
submarines, and our marvelous Lotus un- 
derwater car. On the Bond pictures every- 
thing is supposed to be done for real. So 
whenever we can manage it, we shoot it as 
ii happens. Bur there are some situa: ons 
that are impossible to re-create or that are 
too risky to try." That's where the term spe- 
cial effects comes in. It's Meddings and 
John Dykstra (Star Wars) and Douglas 
Trumbull (C/ose Encounters of the Third 
Kind, Silent Running) making audiences 
think something is really happening when 
it's being done through miniatures or other 
tricks of the trade. 

'After I saw Sta: Wars arc- Close Encoun- 
ters, I lay awake at night ■ rymg -o work out 
how I would have done them. When I finally 
came up with the way in the end, it was 
totally different, but I arrived at the same 
sort of thing. 

"For instance, the original script called * 
for a centrifuge. We were going to do it as a 
miniature, but there was a lot of action 
planned to take place around it. We ended 
up building a full-size working model. It 
couldn't go as fast as a real centrifuge. 
because we couldn't risk killing Moore. But 
with camera speeds we got a terrifying, 
exciting sequence out of it." 

The centrifuge sequence may be excit- 
ing, but Moonrake's finale tops anything 
ever done in the Bond series. "Bond man- 
ages to get aboard Drax's space station by 
knocking out a guard and stealing a shut- 
tle," Meddings said. "He's up there, fight- 
ing off the Drax fighters, when the Ameri- 
can marines come to rescue him. It's like 
the cavalry arriving when the Indians are 
just about to get the upper hand, Well, the 
marines approach in their shuttle and pour 
out to meet Drax's men, who launch them- 
selves from the space station like 
parachutists. Except, of course,- they don't 
drop, they just float out to the action. 
There's a big battle in space, with men fir- 
ing lasers and being shot to pieces. You're 
going to enjoy this one. You really are. 

"Some people say, 'Well, what was the 
story about in the last Bond film, or this 
one?' I just have to laugh, because every- 
one should know by now that you're not 
going to see a story. It's the same mad plot 
in every Bond film. With these, you're not 
going to learn the secret of life. You're going 
to have your head and your eyes filled up 
with magic." OO 



wou 



o 

DYOU 



PAYTO-SE 
"HE FUTURE? 




Would it be worth a thousand dollars . . .a million? Could you even putaprice on 
it? Now, with OMNI, the magazine of tomorrow, on sole today you can! And the 
price is right! In the knowledge that rheres so much to know learn, do and enjoy 
and so little time, we're helping hurry you info the twenty-first century without mis- 
sing any of -the wonders of the twentieth, We're a concise package. . .light and 
heavy . . fantasy and fact. We cover the past, present and especially the future. 
Your future. Bargain on it. Get involved. You con easily afford to (only $18 for a one- 
year subscription). Can you afford not to'? 




OMNI Subscription Dept, 
P.O. Box 908, 
Farmingdole, NY. 11737 

Yes I want to get nvoivedcncilwanttosave 
$6 on lie newss'and price. Here's my □ 
check □ money oro!e r o' $18 tor' c one- 
year s. Lib-scrip": on 12 issues). 

Name 



Games for players, and 
Barttett's Unfamiliar Quotations 



By Scot Morris 



"it's as simple as tit-tat-toe, 
three-in-a-row, and as easy as playing 
hooky. I should hope we can find a way 
that's a little more complicated than that, 
HuckFinn." 

— Mark Twain, The Adventures of 
Huckleberry Finn 

We have used [he word game rather 

loosely in deciding what diversions to 
include in this column. This month we stick 
to the strict sense of the word; games as 
contests. Here are some simple two- 
person arenas in which to test your powers 
of strategic. reasoning. 

THE TIC-TAC VARIATIONS 
and Other Two-Person Games 

You probably played your last tic-tac-toe 
game many years ago. Once you worked 
out the optimal strategy and realized that 
two intelligent players must always draw, 
the game lost its challenge and appeal. So 
you're unbeatable at ordinary tic-tac-toe. 
Big deal! Here are seven variations on the 
old three-in-a-row to give you a new 
perspective. 



WILDCARD TIC-TAC-TOE. Instead of 
having one mark X and the other 0, lei 
players choose either sign, whichever is to 
their advantage on a turn. The winner is 
the first to place three in a row of 
either kind. 

WILDCARD TOE-TAC-TIC. A combination 
of the above. Players can mark either X or 
on any move, and the first to place three 
in a row loses. In this variation either player 
can force a draw it he knows the right 
moves. 

DRAWBRIDGE. The standard tic-tac-toe 
rules apply, but one player tries to achieve 
a draw while the other wins if either of 
them bridges three in a row. 

MOVABLE MARKERS. Players have three 
counters each — pennies vs. dimes, for 



© 





1 PENNY 







f PENNY 






,' dime j 









example— and take turns placing them on 
the 3-by-3 grid. If neither has won after all 
six counters are down, players may begin 
moving counters. The movement rules can 
vary in strictness — only orthogonal, 
adjacent-square moves may be allowed or 
moves along the grid's major diagonals 
or moves to any diagonal square. A 
free-for-all game allows moves to any 
vacant cell. 

BOUNDLESS TIC-TAC-TOE, Instead of 
confining moves to a 3-by-3 square, 
players place their marks on a larger 
grid — a chessboard, for example — and 
allow moves to expand in all directions. 
They still aim to place their marks in a 
vertical, horizontal, or diagonal row. The 
first player has an easy win if the object is 
to place two, three, or four counters in a 
row, but if the goal is five in a row, the game 
is no longer trivial and begins to take some 
unexpected shifts. This is an ancient 
Oriental game that the Japanese call 
Go-moku ("five stones"), which they play 
on the intersections of a Go board. A 
recent version of this game has been cast 
in plastic and is marketed as 
"Pyramid— The Game of the Ages." 

HOT. Canadian mathematician Leo Moser 
devised this game in which each word is 
printed on a card: HOT, HEAR, TIED, 



FORM, WASP, BRIM, TANK, SHIP, WOES. 
The cards are placed face up on the table. 
and players take turns withdrawing cards 
from the pile. The first person to hold three 
of the same letter is the winner. Picking a 
card to prevent one's opponent from get- 
ting three of the same letter is, of course, 
part of a wise strategy. Can you discover 
a "system" for playing Hot? If both 
players make their best possible moves, 
is the game a win for the first player, 
a win for the second player, or a draw? 

NINE-CARD Select nine playing cards 
with ranks from ace to nine and place 
them faceup on the table. Players 
alternate picking cards with the object of 
being the first to get three cards that add , 
up to 15. Is there an optimal strategy? Can 
you find a significant conceptual similarity 
between this game and Hot? (Answer: 
page f 33.) 

SLITHER. Another paper-and-pencil game 
for two players. First draw 30 dots in a 5-by- 
6 rectangular matrix. Players take turns 



% 



E3 S§y f0y 
G3 ^ 53 £gj 




{JjoSi 



connecting orthogonal dots (no diag- 
onals). Once the slithering line is started. 
you may add a segment to either end, 
always forming a continuous line. The 
player who is unable to make a move is the 
loser The illustration shows the end of a 
typical game where no further moves are 
possible. So far, a winning strategy for 
Slither has eluded us: It seems that games 
are won about equally often by players 
who move first and by those who move 
second. 



MASTERWORDS. The tremendously 
successful game Mastermind is now 
available in pocket-sized travel versions, 
deluxe professional models, and even 
electronic solitaire versions. The name and 
the colored-peg arrangement are new, but 
the principle of the game is centuries old. 
In one paper-and-pencil variant each 
player writes down a secret four-letter 
word, then tries to determine what the 
other player's word is before his own is 
guessed. Players alternate guessing 
four-letter English words and respond to 
each other's guesses by saying 1) how 
many letters in the guessed word are also 
in the target word and 2) how many of 
those are "hits," i.e., appear in the same 
position in both words. For example, if my 
word is mind and you guess game, I 
would say "One letter." If you guessed 
dime, I would say, "Three letters, one hit." If 
you guessed goat, I would say, "No 
letters." Combining this information with 
what you learned from your first guess, you 
would know that the one correct letter in 
game is either them or thee, 

Players alternate guesses and record 
each other's responses. The first to 
determine the opponent's word wins, 
though the round continues until both have 
guessed correctly. Total the number of 
guesses taken over several rounds to 
determine the overall winner. You can 
make up for a devastating loss on one 
round by achieving a few narrow wins 
later. Subtract three guesses from your 
score any time your opponent has given 
you incorrect or incomplete informalion 
after a guess. 

This game has an advantage overthe 
plastic version in that both players are 
simultaneously active. With only one 
Mastermind set the coder has nothing to 
do but wait to respond to the seeker's next 
guess. Also there is more strategy in 
thinking up a good code word consisting 
of infrequently guessed letters. Players of 
different skill levels can compete by 
handicapping: While the beginner is trying 
to guess a three - - or. four-letter word, the 
experienced player can be trying to 
unravel a five-letter word. Time limits can be 
imposed depending on players' sensitivity. 



ODD MATCH. Start with 1 5 matches in a 
pile. Players alternate removing matches, 
either one, two, or three per turn. The 
object is to be holding an odd number of 
matches after the pile has been divvied 
up. It makes no difference which player 
takes the last match. 

THE WORLD'S HARDEST QUOTES QUIZ 

The results of our competition for 
unusual quotes and titles appear on 
page 138. Below are some quotes that 
may look more familiar. Fill in the blank with 
the original quotation. Scoring: correct = 
average; 1 correct = good; 2 = excellent; 
3 or more = superb! 

Good luck. May the spirit of St. Bartlett 
be with you ! 

1. "Pride goeth before " 

(Proverbs, 16:18) 



(Shakespeare. King John) 

3. 'A little— __is a dangerous thing." 

(Pope, An Essay on Criticism) 

4. "A penny for your " 

(Heywood, Proverbs) 

5. "Music hath charms to 

soothe " (three words) 

(Congreve, The Mourning Bride) 

6. "Imitation is the sincerest 

flattery." (Coulton, The Lacon) 

7. "Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you 

no_ _." (Goldsmith, She Stoops to 

Conquer) 

8. "Give him an inch, he'll take " 

(Ray, English Proverbs) 

9. "Variety is the of life." 

1 

II evil." 
(I Timothy, 6:10) 

11. "Water, water, everywhere, 

drop to drink." (Coleridge, Rime 

of the Ancient Mariner) 

12. "I only regret that I have 

but for my country." (Nathan 

Hale) 

13. "Beggars choosers." 

(Heywood, Proverbs) 

14. "Winning isn't everything, " 

(Vince Lombard!, to interviewer) 
(Answers: page 133) 



COMPETITION #8: FUTURE BRANDS 

Who would have believed, a century 
ago, that someday Americans would buy a 
soybean imitation of swine flesh, known to 
all as Bac-o-Bits? Or that there would be a 
sleep-inducing pill called Nytol? Or that a 
service for reaming underground pipes 
would be offered under the trade name 
Roto-Rooter? 

In the twenty-first-century supermarket 
there will be products whose uses we can 
hardly imagine but whose brand names, 
no doubt, will have that familiar Madison 
Avenue ring. The brand name for an 
adolescence-inhibiting spansule will be as 
carefully chosen and as closely guarded 
as Turns, Coca-Cola, and Kleenex are 
today 

Space hucksters will give testimonials 
for Rockaway and Sans-a-beit, two 
competing brands of asteroid repellent. 
When they feel listless and weighted down 
after a long day on Jupiter, they'll crack 
open a bottle of Gravitonic, the hard soft 
drink that lightens their load with anti-g 
bubbles. 

Some other products we expect to see 
in the twenty-first-century supermarkets: 
■ Suspended-Animation-Eze — a 

long-term sleeping pill. 

• Computer Tutor— a training program for 
underachieving robots. 

• Pauling-Pops — vitamin C on a stick, 

• Check Mate — a computer-controlled 
chess partner. 

• Easy Reader— automatic page-turning 
machine. 

• Euclidizer — space-straightening spray 

• Preparation R — a lubricant for robots. 

• Oedipus Pyrex — glass breasts for 
suckling test-tube babies. 

The Competition: Send two brand names 
for products that will be available in the 
twenfy-first century. Postcards only, with 
two entries per card, postmarked by 
August 15, 1979. All entries become the 
property of Omni and will not be returned. 
First-prize winner will receive $100. 
Runners-up (2-10) will receive $25 each. 
Send entries to: OMNI Competition #8, 
909 Third Avenue, N.Y. N.Y 10022. DO 



"HE REM 



IAJDRD 



By Joyce McWilliams 



mews item: "One study indicates 
thai restlessness in cockroaches 
can foreshadow an earthquake." 
If earthquakes can be predicted by 
observing the "restlessness" of 
cockroaches, it might be well for us to 
examine in detail in what manner 
cockroaches exhibit their restlessness. 
We should ask ourselves the following 
questions: When a cockroach is restless, 
does it stare moodily out of the window? 
Does it pace back and forth and sigh? 
Does it swilch channels on the television 
set every three minutes? Does it wring its 
little feelers? Doe's jt scuttle to the 
medicine cabinet to get a Valium tablet? 
Does it experience difficulty sleeping? 

We do not have answers to any of these 
questions yet, but this news item is worth 
looking into, for anything that can alert us 
to an impending earthquake can save 
splintered crockery, shattered real estate, 
and broken heads. Therefore, trying to 
establish rapport with a cockroach may be 
more rewarding than rapping with a 
dolphin. What, after all, would one say to a 
dolphin? 

However, one of the difficulties of 
examining the changing moods of 
cockroaches for scientific purposes (or for 
any purpose, for that mailer) is that 
cockroaches are principally nocturnal. 
This means that we will have to make our 
observations at night, when the 
cockroaches are up and about. 

We could cheat and set up an artificial 
environment for observing the 
restlessness of cockroaches, i.e., we 
could keep the lights on them all night so 
they would think it is daytime, and we 
could keep them in a little box that has 
Utile windows and miniature shades that 
can be pulled down in the daytime so that 
we could study Ihem when we're awake. 
This might not work to our advantage, 
however. It might leave the cockroaches 
sleepy, irritable, and listless, and we 
wouldn'l be able to fell when they were 
restless and consequently wouldn't know 
when an earthquake was coming. 
Perhaps an examination of the 
cockroach in song and story could give us 
clues as to how to approach this elusive 



bug. The chorus of "La Cucaracha," the 
Mexican folk song, translates like this: 
"The cucaracha, the cucaracha/doesn't 
want to walk/because she hasn't/oh, no, 
she hasn't/marijuana to smoke." 

Cucaracha is. Spanish for "cock- 
roach," but there is some disagreement as 
to the meaning of this song. Some say it 
doesn't mean "cockroach"; it means "the 
little dancer." And other authorities 
suggest it means "a little, dried-up old 
maid." Still others say it means as much as 
"Mairsie Doats" does. There may be some 
truth to the theories that women are 
involved here (ihough why is "a dried-up 
qld maid" smoking marijuana? Conversely, 
why not?) because out ot the song's eight 
verses, six deal with women. There is also 
a sfory that cockroach races in Mexico are 
held in bars. 

It is quite possible that cockroaches are 
somehow connected with marijuana. The 
roach clip, for example, is the well-known 
clothespinlike device that is used to 
smoke a joint down to the end. It could be 
'that in the past marijuana was tesled on 
cockroaches fin bars) before it was used 
for human consumption and that it was 
learned thai marijuana, if it was not 
combined with saccharin, was not harmful 
to cockroaches. You never know. 

In literature we have Franz Kafka's shorl 
story "Metamorphosis," a tale of the 
bizarre and the grotesque (you probably 
wouldn't feel so smug if you were a 
cockroach) whose first line is: "As Gregor 
Samsa awoke one morning from a 
troubled dream, he found'himself 
changed in his bed to some monstrous 
kind of vermin." Poor Gregor, through no 
fault of 'his own, was metamorphosed into 
a cockroach overnight. You can imagine 
the problems Gregor faced. So he chose 
to solve his problems by dying. The only 
other things necessary to know about 
Kafka are that "everything is illusion" (we 
are all cockroaches?) and that 
"Metamorphosis" will probably never be 
made into a musical play. 

Then, we find the cockroach archie, in 
Don Marquis's archie and mehitabei. 
archie (no capital letters because when a 
cockroach uses a typewriter, it does not 



have enough strength to use the shift key) 
was once a human, a lyric poet, but he 
died, and his soul migrated into a 
cockroach's body, archie, among olher 
things a philosopher, says, "alas 
exclamation point/the pathos of 
ugliness/is only perceived/by us 
cockroaches of the world." If you are 
moved by this, friends, perhaps you will 
hesitate the next time you want to crush a 
cockroach underfoot. Be kind to a 
cockroach, for it might be another Rod 
McKuen. 

Also, archie expresses his pride in his 
heritage as a cockroach when he says, 
"insects were insects/when man was only 
a burbling whatisit." Here we have found 
the crux of the matter. Once more, 
literature has shown us the way. The 
cockroach goes back 300 million years. 
The cockroach was around before flies 
and mosquitoes, to say nothing of people. 
And in these 300 million years the 
cockroach has not seen fit to change one 
bit. Cockroaches lived in the dank forests 
primeval and, showing great powers of 
adaptation, moved on into the tract houses 
when the forests primeval were cut down 
and changed into $150,000 four-bedroom, 
Ihree-bath-plus-family-room primeval 
estates. 

It boggles the mind, doesn't it, when 
one thinks that the cockroach has lived 
through it all — the rise and the fall of the 
dinosaurs, the invention of the wheel and 
the skateboard, the French Revolution, the 
Industrial Revolution, the Sexual 
Revolution. The cockroach careened 
around under the great tree ferns so long 
ago there wasn't even any television. It 
would follow, therefore, that the cockroach 
knows something that we don't know. It 
knows wha! to do with its spare time. And it 
knows how to survive. By keeping its 
antennae to the ground, it knows such 
elementary things as when an earthquake ■ 
is about to occur. So it becomes restless. 
Hence, we have only to observe it closely, 
and when we notice that it won't eat, that it 
is taking naps at night, and that it is 
staying up all hours of the day, it is time we 
take the china off the shelves and move to. 
Wyoming. DO